Grapes against inflammation and for heart health
September is the month of grapes, sweet and juicy. But grapes are also a mine of antioxidants, vitamins, mineral salts and, as evidenced by a recent scientific research, also anti-inflammatory substances. The research has just been accepted by the British Journal of Nutrition, where it will be published shortly (Sarkhosh-Khorasani et al, British Journal of Nutrition, Sep 2020).
Inflammation is the body's defense mechanism, it allows it to counteract external aggressions, bacteria, viruses or toxins. It is therefore a protective and beneficial process. However, once it has done its job, the inflammation must pass. Sometimes this does not happen and a chronic inflammatory condition remains in the body. In the long run, the chronic inflammation can lead to cardiovascular problems, depression, diabetes or cancer. Grapes, thanks to their richness in polyphenols, can help reduce chronic inflammation. In particular, as emerges from the research of today, grapes act on a particular indicator of inflammation, the C reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a protein synthesized by the liver during inflammation. Not only that, it is considered one of the most important markers for assessing cardiovascular risk. In fact, high levels of C reactive protein are linked to high vascular inflammation and have a direct effect on heart health, by promoting possible damage to blood vessels, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events (Cozlea et al, Curr Health Sci J, 2013 ). Well, the intake of grapes and derivatives, such as raisins and juices, but not wine, has been shown to significantly reduce the levels of C reactive protein. Moreover, grapes and related products are also able to reduce blood pressure and improve the function of the endothelium, namely the lining of blood vessels and the heart. This beneficial action is proportional to the amount of polyphenols introduced with the intake of grapes, raisins and juices and to the intake duration, which should be at least 12 weeks.