Red grapes are more than just the source for the world’s
finest wine - the fruits themselves are a wonder cure against heart
attacks, according to new research.
And while a glass of wine is
a recognised part of a healthy Mediterranean-style diet, it seems the
bits of the grape thrown away to make the tipple could be even
Researchers made a cocktail extracted from the most
fibre-rich parts of the grape such as the skin and seeds which are the
waste byproduct in vineyards.
Tests on human volunteers found the
extract was extremely rich in both fibre and antioxidants which reduce
the risks of cardiovascular disease - the world’s biggest killer.
other superfoods for the heart, like the plant extract psyllium or
healthy oats for instance, are usually good for either fibre or
antioxidants rather than both together.
But the tests at Madrid
University using a concoction called Grape Antioxidant Dietary Fibre
(GADF) was high in both potentially lifesaving ingredients.
a 16 week period, adding the extract to the volunteers’ regular
diet ‘significantly’ reduced their ‘Lipid
Profile’ - the range of tests to determine a patient’s risk
of heart disease.
This included reducing blood pressure by up to
five per cent and cholesterol by up to 14 per cent among the
volunteers, said the research.
A Mediterranean-style diet
including components like red wine, olive oil and tomatoes has long
been considered healthier than other Western diets rich in deep fried
and fast food.
The research suggests the grape extract would make such a diet
up to 50 per cent even more effective in reducing the risks of heart
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death in
the Western World accounting for up to 50 per cent of all natural
The extract, if turned into a health supplement,
could be particularly useful for those who suffer from high blood
pressure or high cholesterol, said the researchers.
are published in the journal Nutrition today/Wed after 34 non-smoking
adults were tested with the GADF extract over 16 weeks.
that was going on, a further nine students from the university who were
not given the extract were also monitored so they could be compared to
the first group.
Those given GADF saw ‘significantly
reduced total cholesterol’, particularly LDL, the type known as
‘bad cholesterol’ which can lead to heart problems in later
The reduction in both cholesterol and blood pressure was
much bigger than the effects caused by other high fibre products on the
market, they said.
Researcher Jara Perez Jimenez said: ‘GADF showed significant reducing effects in lipid profile and blood pressure.
effects appear to be higher than the ones caused by other dietary
fibres, such as oat fibre or psyllium, probably due to the combined
effect of dietary fibre and antioxidants.’