A new study has found that eating grapes can reduce the chances of developing dementia later in life.
The finding, which came as part of a series of studies published in the journal foodswas included in an extensive list of positive impacts that eating fruit can have on your health.
According to researchers, the fruit is particularly beneficial for those living on high-fat Western diets, as it is known to be rich in chemicals that increase healthy gut bacteria and lower cholesterol.
Grapes are also rich in antioxidants that are known to improve health and prevent disease and cancer in humans.
Antioxidants defend cells from damage caused by free radicals, either inside the body (inflammation, for example) or outside the body, such as pollution, UV or cigarette smoke.
Now, the team of researchers has discovered that the antioxidants in grapes can protect the brain against the development of dementia by improving the function of neurons, or nerve cells.
It follows in the footsteps of several previous studies that found brain inflammation to be linked to various forms of dementia.
A second study by Western New England University researchers revealed that eating grapes can reduce your risk of developing fatty liver disease, a condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver, and increase your life expectancy by five years additional
Due to unhealthy eating habits, disease is a growing health problem worldwide. And while it’s rarely fatal, it can lead to liver failure or liver cancer if left untreated.
Grapes also burn calories as they are digested, which in turn helps boost your metabolism, the team’s third study found.
The studies were conducted on mice fed high-fat diets typically consumed in Western countries, with only half of the mice receiving grape supplements.
The team then compared the brain, liver and metabolic health of mice that received grape supplements with those that did not.
“It adds a whole new dimension to the old saying ‘you are what you eat,'” said study co-author Dr. John Pezzuto.
The pharmacy professor, who has authored more than 600 scientific studies, said grapes actually change gene expression, which he described as “truly remarkable”.
It comes amid studies into how humans turn their genes on and off to gain control over the body’s development throughout life.
Exercise, stress, diet, sleep and meditation are all thought to affect the expression of our genes.
Although many take antioxidant supplements, Dr. Pezzuto said it’s not possible to consume “enough” of an antioxidant to make a “big difference” to your health.
“But if you change the level of antioxidant gene expression, as we saw with grapes added to the diet, the result is a catalytic response that can make a real difference.”
The research was funded in part by the California Table Grape Commission, which provided the grapes used in the experiments.
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