Health & Nutrition

The Concord Grape—One Super Fruit!

Purple fruit for health:

The USDA’s My Plate recommends that Americans make half their plate fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, most of us are not currently meeting these recommended daily amounts1, especially falling short on blue and purple fruits and vegetables.2 Blue and purple fruits, like the Concord grape, provide health promoting plant nutrients (polyphenols) that may not be found in other colors of fruits and vegetables.  Concord grapes and 100% grape juice both count as part of the fruit group and can be delicious, colorful additions to the diet. For more tips to help increase your family’s fruit intake, visit choosemyplate.gov.

Concord grapes make heart-healthy 100% juice:

Promoting healthy, clear arteries
Concord grapes contain plant nutrients (or phytonutrients) called polyphenols.  In fact the grapes used to make red wine and the Concord grapes used in certain 100% grape juices contain many of the same polyphenols.  Studies suggests that these plant nutrients act as antioxidants to help minimize the damaging effects of LDL or “bad” cholesterol and help support healthy, clear arteries. 3-5

To learn more about the studies referenced in this section, visit the Grape Science Center.

Encouraging flexible arteries
Concord grape juice has been shown to provide many of the same heart-health benefits of red wine, without the worries of alcohol.6,7 Specifically, growing research suggests that drinking Concord grape juice can benefit the heart by helping maintain flexible arteries4,7,8 to support healthy circulation. 9,10

To learn more about the studies referenced in this section, visit the Grape Science Center.

Breaking research news:

What’s good for the heart may also be good for the mind*
Scientists are investigating the effects of Concord grapes on heart health and cognitive function.  A pilot study reported in 2010 found that Concord grape juice may benefit older adults with early memory decline.11 This is an emerging area, and results are very preliminary, so more research is needed before drawing any conclusions.  However, the pilot study is promising because it shows that further research is warranted to learn if Concord grape juice can support healthy cognitive function as we age.

To learn more about this research and related laboratory studies, visit the Grape Science Center.

*In this investigation, 12 older adults with early memory decline were randomly assigned to consume either 100% Concord grape juice or a calorie-matched placebo beverage for 12 weeks.  Each subject was assessed with measures of verbal and spatial memory before and after the intervention.  While there were no statistical differences between the groups at baseline, following the treatment, those consuming Concord grape juice demonstrated significant improvement in list learning.  The authors did not find statistically significant improvements in improved list retention or spatial memory, but did observe positive trends.

Concord grape juice could contribute to a healthy immune system
Early research suggests that certain nutrients (i.e., polyphenols and vitamin C), like those found in Concord grapes, may play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. 12-15 While considered a preliminary area of science, researchers have recently found that 100% grape juice made with Concord grapes and fortified with vitamin C increased a type of immune cell – the gamma delta T cell a cell that sends signals to the immune system to respond. 15

To learn more about this research and related laboratory studies, visit the Grape Science Center.

Please see “References” below for further details on the research discussed in this section.  And for more on new science behind Concord grapes, visit Research News

References
1 Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.

2 Produce For Better Health Foundation. State of the Plate Study on America's Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables. Wilmington, Delaware. 2003.

3 O'Byrne DJ, Devaraj S, Grundy SM, Jialal I. Comparison of the antioxidant effects of Concord grape juice flavonoids alpha-tocopherol on markers of oxidative stress in healthy adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002. 76(6):1367-1374. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12450905

4 Stein JH, Keevil JG, Wiebe DA, Aeschlimann S and Folts JD. Purple grape juice improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease. Circulation. 1999. 100(10):1050-1055. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10477529

5 Vinson JA, Yang J, Proch J and Liang X. Grape juice, but not orange juice, has in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo antioxidant properties. J Med Food. 2000. 3(4):167-171. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19236173

6 Folts JD. Antithrombotic potential of grape juice and red wine for preventing heart attacks. Pharmaceutical Biology. 1998. 36(Supplement 1):21-27. www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/phbi/1998/00000036/A00100s1/art00005

7 Anselm E, Chataigneau M, Ndiaye M, Chataigneau T and Schini-Kerth VB. Grape juice causes endothelium-dependent relaxation via a redox-sensitive Src- and Akt-dependent activation of eNOS. Cardiovasc Res. 2007. 73(2):404-413.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16962569

8 Chou EJ, Keevil JG, Aeschlimann S, Wiebe DA, Folts JD and Stein JH. Effect of ingestion of purple grape juice on endothelial function in patients with coronary heart disease. Am J Cardiol. 2001. 88(5):553-555. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11524068

9 Fitzpatrick DF, Bing B, Maggi DA, Fleming RC and O'Malley RM. Vasodilating procyanidins derived from grape seeds. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002. 957:78-89. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12074963

10 Freedman JE, Parker C, 3rd, Li L, et al. Select flavonoids and whole juice from purple grapes inhibit platelet function and enhance nitric oxide release. Circulation. 2001. 103(23):2792-2798. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11401934

11 Krikorian R, Nash TA, Shidler MD, Shukitt-Hale B and Joseph JA. Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment. Br J Nutr. 2010. 103(5):730-734. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20028599

12 Percival SS. Grape consumption supports immunity in animals and humans. J Nutr. 2009. 139(9):1801S-1805S. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19640969

13 Falchetti R, Fuggetta MP, Lanzilli G, Tricarico M and Ravagnan G. Effects of resveratrol on human immune cell function. Life Sci. 2001. 70(1):81-96. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11764009

14 Zhang XY, Li WG, Wu YJ, Zheng TZ, Li W, Qu SY and Liu NF. Proanthocyanidin from grape seeds potentiates anti-tumor activity of doxorubicin via immunomodulatory mechanism. Int Immunopharmacol. 2005. 5(7-8):1247-1257. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15914329

15 Rowe CA, Nantz MP, Nieves CJ, West RL and Percival SS. Regular Consumption of Concord Grape Juice Benefits Human Immunity. J Med Food. 2011. 14(1-2):69-78. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21138361

 

Concord grapes contain plant nutrients (or phytonutrients) called polyphenols.