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Grapes May Fight High Blood Pressure

Study Shows Antixoidants in Grapes May Be a Weapon in Blood Pressure Battle
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Grapes and High Blood Pressure continued...

Such naturally occurring substances already have been shown to reduce other potentially harmful molecular and cellular activity, the researchers say in a news release.

The study notes that grapes and other fruits high in antioxidant phytochemials show promise, as does research on the impact of red wine on heart health.

Still, the best advice for people with blood pressure problems is to cut down on the amount of salt they get, Bolling says.

"There is, as we know, a great variability, perhaps genetic even, in sensitivity to salt causing hypertension," he says. "Some people are very sensitive to salt intake, some are only moderately so, and there are perhaps some people who are salt resistant. But in general we say, 'Stay away from excess salt.'"

Grape-Enriched Diet

The researchers studied several groups of rats and assigned each group of 12 to various combinations of salty foods, grape powder, and hydralazine. All the rodents were fed the same weight of food daily, with powdered grapes making up 3% of the diet for the animals that received grapes as part of either a low-salt or high-salt diet. Rats receiving hydralazine lapped it up in their water supply.

After looking at various factors, including molecular indicators of cardiac stress, the researchers still found that the rats in the high-salt grape and high-salt hydralazine groups developed high blood pressure over time but had lower systolic blood pressures than the high-salt rats deprived of grape powder.

"Though it's true that your mom told you to eat all your fruits and your vegetables, and that we are learning a lot about what fruits, including grapes, can do ... we would not directly tell patients to throw all their pills away and just eat grapes," Bolling says.

The researchers say the study suggests that a grape-enriched diet can have broad effects on hypertension, but that more work is needed to see if the beneficial effects will apply to humans.

They write that the findings "may have particular importance to our aging population, which has reduced intake of both fruit and vegetables."

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