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Grape Seed Extract May Help Heart Health

A recent study suggests that taking daily supplements of whole grape extract may improve cardiovascular health in overweight and pre-hypertensive individuals by improving antioxidant and cholesterol levels.

Participants in the study included 24 pre-hypertensive, overweight, and/or pre-diabetic individuals who were given either 350 mg per day of whole grape seed extract or a placebo for six weeks.

The whole grape seed extract contained 60-70% proathocyanidins, including flavan-3-ol units of catechin, epicatechin, and epicatechin-3-0-gallate.

At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the supplement group had a 5% decrease in 8-isoprostane levels (a marker of oxidative stress), while the placebo group had a 50% increase. They also noted improvements in the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL (or “good”) cholesterol, which is known to be a high risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Researchers from KGK Synergize, Inc., in Canada conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on January 11, 2014, in Journal of Functional Foods.

Grape seed extract is high in polyphenols, powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body that can lead to many common diseases. Previous studies have linked polyphenol intake with a variety of health benefits, including helping with weight management, fighting certain cancers, and reducing inflammation.

Polyphenols can be found naturally in many foods, including honey, a variety of fruits and vegetables, red wine, chocolate, tea, certain oils and many types of grain.

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