Many studies have suggested that moderate red wine consumption is beneficial to cardiovascular health. But what if you'd like to skip the alcohol?
Take heart: laboratory research, just presented at the WINEHEALTH 2007 conference in Bordeaux, France, showed that Concord grape juice stimulated an arterial relaxation effect in a similar fashion to red wine. The French researchers also reported that the Concord grape juice induced a prolonged relaxation effect that has not yet been reported with red wine.
Dr. Valérie Schini-Kerth and a team of researchers of the Université Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, France, found that Concord grape juice stimulated the production of nitric oxide in endothelial cells, providing a vasorelaxation effect. It is known that nitric oxide is important in the body's natural system for maintaining healthy, flexible blood vessels and helps support healthy blood pressure.
Researchers further discovered that Concord grape juice produced this relaxation effect by stimulating the same chemical reactions in the arteries that are activated by red wine. The beneficial effect provided by Concord grape juice lasted up to six hours, whereas this extended effect has not been reported with red wine. This research suggests that the benefits of drinking Concord purple grape juice may last long after finishing the juice.
This research also demonstrates that it's the components of the grape, rather than alcohol, which produce this beneficial effect for the heart.
This study supports other preliminary research in which Concord grape juice had a blood pressure-lowering effect. So, for those looking for an alternative to red wine, grape juice made from Concord grapes provides a delicious, family-friendly, heart-healthy alternative.
Welch Foods Inc. is committed to supporting independent research exploring the role of Concord grape juice in a healthy lifestyle and provided funding and Concord grape juice for this study.