Grapes May Lower Obesity Risk and Promote Gut Health
It’s no secret—we’re gaga for grapes! Previous research has found grapes may be good for your bones, heart, and brain and components of grape seeds may be beneficial in managing weight. Now, research from the North Carolina Research Campus and University of North Carolina at Greensboro finds the same benefit may be true for the whole fruit.
For the study, published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, mice were fed a typical high-fat American diet with or without grape polyphenols (including anthocyanins) for 16 weeks. Mice that received the grape polyphenols gained up to 40% less weight than those that did not. Further analysis also revealed grape polyphenols helped improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, suppress inflammation, and beneficially alter gut microbiota (AKA friendly bacteria).
So what might be going on? “High fat diets normally trigger chronic inflammation in the intestines,” explains Dr. Mary Ann Lila, Director of the Plants for Human Health Institute and coauthor of the study. “The inflammation can disrupt normal membrane structure and function, and can lead to inability of insulin to signal normally. What this study clearly demonstrated was that grape polyphenols work with natural microbes in our digestive system to create a favorable internal environment for gut health—depressing any low-grade intestinal inflammation, and removing any interference with normal insulin functioning.”
Now we wouldn’t say eating grapes gives you an excuse to eat an otherwise unhealthy, high-fat diet, but there is certainly evidence for adding red, purple or green grapes to your plate. Pair fresh grapes with peanut butter for a spin on PB&J or snack on frozen grapes for a cool and frosty summer dessert.
Published August 1, 2016