Grape juice could mimic heart benefits of red wine

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Many studies have suggested that moderate red wine consumption is beneficial to cardiovascular health, but new research showed that Concord grape juice stimulated an arterial relaxation effect in a similar fashion to red wine. The study was presented at the 2007 annual Winehealth conference held in Bordeaux, France, Sept. 20 to 22.

Valerie Schini-Kerth, MD, and colleagues at the Universite Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, France, found that Concord grape juice stimulated the production of nitric oxide in endothelial cells, providing a prolonged relaxation effect reported with red wine.

Researchers further discovered that Concord grape juice produced this relaxation effect by stimulating the same chemical reactions in the arteries that are activated by red wine. The beneficial effect provided by Concord grape juice lasted up to six hours, whereas this extended effect has not been reported with red wine.

This research also demonstrates that it's the components of the grape, rather than alcohol, which produce beneficial effect for the heart.

This study supports other preliminary research in which Concord grape juice also had a blood pressure-lowering effect.