Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Best Drink for Your Heart

If you want to be good to your heart and possibly live a lot longer, drink grape juice.

Reuters reports that research from the Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg in France concludes that Concord grape juice has the same protective effect against heart disease as red wine. "Grape juice can have a similar effect (against heart disease) as red wine but without the alcohol. That is a very important message," said lead study author Dr. Valerie Schini-Kerth.

Certain types of grape juice and red wine are packed with high levels of polyphenols, which have been shown to block the production of a protein that is linked to cardiovascular disease, reports Reuters.

When endothelial cells--these are the cells that make up blood vessels--stop working as they should, heart and vascular problems develop. The French scientists discovered that the polyphenols in Concord grape juice activate the endothelial cells so they produce nitric oxide. That in turn helps protect the heart from cardiovascular disease and helps maintain healthy blood vessels and blood pressure.

Here's the catch: If you're going to drink grape juice for your heart, make sure it's Concord grape juice. Other types of grape juice, which don't have the same high levels of polyphenols and are processed differently, don't have the heart-healthy punch of Concord grape juice.

The study, which was partly funded by Welch Foods Inc., is reported in the journal Cardiovascular Research, 2007.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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