Grape polyphenols could reduce cholesterol in menopausal women, suggests a study in the Journal of Nutrition.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut used female guinea pigs, which had their ovaries removed, as a model for menopausal women. They were fed either a control diet or a diet containing a lyophilized grape preparation for 12 weeks, including 0.58g of polyphenols per 100g of the preparation. This included flavans, anthocyanins, quercetin, myricetin, kaempferol and resveratrol.
The diet included 0.33g of cholesterol (per 100g) to raise plasma cholesterol concentrations and ensure the development of atherosclerosis in the animals.
Blood levels of LDL cholesterol concentrations did not differ between groups, but plasma triglycerides were 39 per cent lower and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol was 50 per cent lower in guinea pigs fed the grape diet compared with controls. Phospholipids were 30 per cent lower and concentrations of cholesterol in the aorta were 33 per cent lower in guinea pigs fed the grape diet, reported the researchers.
"These results suggest that grape intake in ovariectomized guinea pigs alters hepatic cholesterol metabolism, which may affect VLDL secretion rates and result in less accumulation of cholesterol in the aorta," they write.
Doctors in England seem to support such findings with reports in the UK press today that heart patients in Great Western Hospital in Swindon are being prescribed two glasses of wine daily, following research showing that it can cut the chance of having a heart attack by 50 per cent and a stroke by 20 per cent. This is thought to be due to the antioxidants in red wine, which help prevent blood clotting and stop the build-up of cholesterol.