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To Your Health
We have all heard the adage "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." But with today's science, can we say the same for grape juice? And what about dark chocolate? As we are not the scientists, we will let them speak for themselves. And why is an alcohol-free juice site concerned about dark chocolate? Good question. It is a surprise you will discover on your first order!
|Concord Grape Juice and HealthDRINKING CONCORD GRAPE JUICE INCREASED HDL, LOWERED INFLAMMATORY MARKERS LINKED TO CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE
Concord, MA (November 16, 2004)—Drinking Concord grape juice significantly increased HDL—the good cholesterol—and significantly lowered two markers of inflammation in people with stable coronary artery disease, according to results of a study presented in the November 2004 issue of the journal "Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology."
“In addition to HDL levels increasing, we saw significant decreases in the production of superoxide, a free radical, and soluble CD40 ligand, an inflammatory marker about which there is growing interest,” explains Jane E. Freedman, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology, Boston University School of Medicine and an author of the study. “Platelet release of soluble CD40 ligand is thought to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis and vascular inflammation. We have seen in previous studies of healthy subjects that drinking grape juice decreases superoxide production and inhibits platelet aggregation, yet its impact on the inflammatory properties of platelets had not been previously studied. The soluble CD40 ligand information is new and particularly interesting, given the growing interest in the link between this inflammatory marker and cardiovascular disease.”
The positive increase in HDL levels is also noteworthy, according to Freedman. Historically, HDL increases have been linked to drinking red wine and attributed to the alcohol found in the wine. Given that Concord grape juice does not contain alcohol, researchers may now be looking more closely at the polyphenolic compounds found in both wine and grape juice as potential contributors to this effect.
“There has been great interest in the possible benefits of drinking red wine for people with cardiovascular disease,” notes Freedman. “But it has been offset, to a certain extent, by concerns about promoting alcohol consumption. This has led to the exploration of non-alcoholic grape products. In the past, we have seen that Concord grape juice has shown strong antioxidant and platelet-inhibitory effects. This is the first study to show its positive effect on soluble CD40 ligand, an emerging marker of cardiovascular inflammation, even in subjects on a daily aspirin regimen.”
The double blind, placebo-controlled study looked at 20 subjects, with a mean age of 63 years, who had previously been diagnosed with coronary artery disease and were on standard medications, including aspirin. “Because the patients were already on aspirin therapy, we didn’t see the significant platelet inhibition we typically get in subjects drinking the grape juice. This is not surprising, however, given aspirin’s potent effect on platelets.”
Freedman cautions that her study is preliminary and that more work needs to be done in this area. Nonetheless, she notes that consumption of purple grape juice may suppress inflammatory indices that have been recently linked to cardiovascular disease.
The study comes on the heels of the release of the new USDA proanthocyanidin database in which purple grape juice made from Concord grapes tested higher in total proanthocyanidins than any other beverage tested on a per serving basis, including red wine, tea, cranberry juice cocktail and apple juice. Proanthocyanidins, a subset of polyphenols, are natural plant compounds that function as antioxidants and that have been linked to good health in a variety of ways.
The study was underwritten, in part, by Welch's.
|Muscadine Grapes and Health
Not only are Muscadine grapes celebrated for their unique pungent flavor, now they are also considered one of the most healthful foods in the world. Recent scientific analysis conducted independently by the University of Georgia, Mississippi State University, North Carolina State University, and The U.S. National Institute of Health, all concur that the Muscadine provides remarkable health benefits. Muscadines contain the highest levels of antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds such as resveratrol and ellagic acid of any fruit tested. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and are considered to be effective in helping prevent abnormal cells, degenerative diseases, and to slow the aging process. Reservertrol is an anticarcinogenic agent and proven to be effective in reducing cholesterol levels and the risk for coronary heart disease. Ellagic acid is known to inhibit the start and growth of cancer cells. The research found that muscadine wines contain up to 7 times more resveratrol than other wines. Fresh muscadines are also higher in fiber, zinc, iron, and calcium than most fruits. The search was on to find nature’s best source of antioxidants and the rare grape that is native only to the southeastern U.S., known as the muscadine, was the superlative. (Halo Notch Estate Vineyards)
|Apple Juice and HealthUC-DAVIS RESEARCH WITH ADULTS FINDS 100% APPLE JUICE, APPLES GOOD FOR THE HEART APPLE COMPONENTS OFFERS BENEFITS SIMILAR TO TEA AND RED WINE
ATLANTA (February 20, 2001) -- If you think apple juice is just for kids, think again! Recently published clinical research with adults from the University of California at Davis (UC-Davis) gives new meaning to the old adage, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." For the first time ever, UC-Davis researchers have discovered that the "phytonutrients" (active plant components) found in 100% apple juice and apples can actually help slow some of the processes in humans that can lead to heart disease.
The research, which found that apple juice (including apple cider) and apples had similar health effects as red wine and tea, was published this week in the Winter edition of the Journal of Medicinal Food, an international and highly regarded research journal.
What makes this study so unique? This was the first clinical study to evaluate heart-health benefits of 100% apple juice and fresh apples. In this 12-week study with adults (25 healthy men and women), just 1-1/2 cups of 100% apple juice or two fresh apples consumed daily slowed the oxidation process of the "bad" (LDL) cholesterol. While the study results were the most dramatic for the apple juice, consumption of fresh apples slowed the cholesterol oxidation process as well. When this LDL cholesterol becomes oxidized, it has more of a tendency to clog arteries and can lead to heart disease.
"We found that just taking in moderate amounts of apple juice and apples, without making any other dietary changes, can reduce some markers for heart disease risk," said lead UC-Davis researcher Dianne Hyson, Ph.D., R.D.
Hyson further explained that LDL particles made up of fat and protein carry cholesterol into the bloodstream. LDL particles that have been oxidized - that is, transformed by exposure to oxygen in the body - are more likely to build up into formations of plaque in arteries, causing atherosclerosis or the hardening and narrowing of arteries. Arteries in the heart are more susceptible to plaque formation and related damage, known as atherosclerosis. The risk of atherosclerosis is reduced if oxidation of LDL cholesterol can be delayed, giving the body more time to eliminate the cholesterol before it can cause arterial damage.
Phytonutrients are newly discovered plant components that are thought to have antioxidant properties that are important for good health. "We were particularly excited about our research because we found the apple phytonutrients really can make a difference once consumed," said Hyson.
Although apple juice is a favorite of young children, the researchers decided to evaluate the health benefits of apple products with adults. This research with 100% apple juice and apples supports laboratory research and population studies from around the world which demonstrate that there are nutrients in apple juice and apples that are vital to good health.
Leading health organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Cholesterol Education Program stress the importance of instilling healthy dietary habits in childhood and carrying them into adulthood. One of those habits should be to consume at least five servings a day of phytonutrient-rich fruits and vegetables, which should include apples and 100% apple juice.
Sue Taylor, M.S., R.D., director of nutrition communications for the Processed Apples Institute, said, "This latest study adds compelling new evidence that there is a positive association between health benefits and consumption of apple juice other apple products." She added, "This study gives consumers even more reason to choose a phytonutrient-rich beverage like 100% apple juice over less nutritious flavored beverages, even when eating fast food!"
For more information about this UC-Davis research, visit the UC-Davis Internet site at https://news.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/apple_study.html or check out other press releases to learn more about other research studies on the health benefits of apple products.
Reprinted here with the permission and courtesy of The Apple Products Research and Education Council (APREC).
|Dark Chocolate and Health
Yale Study Reaffirms Link Between Dark Chocolate and Cardiovascular Benefits
HERSHEY, Pa., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Eating dark chocolate can result in short-term improvements in arterial function and blood pressure, according to a new study conducted at Yale University's Prevention Research Center and funded by The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY).
"This is the latest study to suggest a link between dark chocolate, which contains natural flavanol antioxidants, and health benefits," said Dr. David Katz, Associate Professor of Public Health at Yale, and Director of the Prevention Research Center, who conducted the study. "The dark chocolate tested in this trial improved blood pressure and arterial function. This clearly suggests that dark chocolate isn't just good; it's good for you!"
The Yale study used ultrasound technology and sophisticated measurements to assess the effects of eating high-cacao content dark chocolate, Hershey's(R) Extra Dark, on the arterial function of 45 moderately overweight adults. The study also measured subjects' blood pressure before and two hours after eating two servings (74 grams) of dark chocolate. The study demonstrated improvements in blood pressure, as well as the ability of blood vessels to dilate and increase flow, a key indicator of cardiovascular health, after eating dark chocolate. No such effects were seen with a low-flavanol placebo. This is the first phase of an ongoing trial. Future phases will explore the relationship between the consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa and the potential for longer-term health benefits.
"We are extremely encouraged about these results indicating the link between Hershey's Extra Dark and potential health benefits," said Thomas K. Hernquist, Senior Vice President and President, US Confectionery, The Hershey Company. "Hershey's Extra Dark is formulated with 60% cacao dark chocolate, giving the product a deep, rich chocolate flavor and a higher level of natural flavanol antioxidants. The dark chocolate category continues to grow at a rapid rate as consumers discover the unique, bold taste of dark chocolate and the fact that cocoa is a natural source of antioxidants."
"This study provides more evidence on the positive benefits of dark chocolate," said Dr. Debra Miller, Senior Nutrition Scientist, The Hershey Company. "Dark chocolate is a great choice for a treat, providing the delicious taste of chocolate that people love with the added benefit of natural flavanol antioxidants. Like all treats, it should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy, balanced diet."
Press Release, The Hershey Company