Grapes increase gut biome diversity and lower cholesterol
A team of researchers at the University of California's, David Geffen School of Medicine, has found evidence showing that eating grapes can increase gut biome diversity and also lower cholesterol levels in the blood. In their paper published in the journal Nutrients, the group describes experiments in which they fed volunteers grape powder for four weeks.
Prior research has shown that eating certain fruit, such as apples and grapes, can promote healthy blood vessels because they contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Eating such fruits also lowers blood sugar and blood pressure levels. And in some cases, polyphenol consumption has been shown to reduce inflammation, a contributing factor in heart disease. In this new effort, the researchers looked at other possible health benefits of eating grapes.
To learn more about possible positive health benefits, the group enlisted the assistance of 19 healthy adults. Each ate a special diet low in polyphenols and fiber for four weeks. Then, each subject ate the same diet but with the addition of grape powder. The volunteers ate 46 grams of the powder each day, which is equivalent to two servings of grapes. The researchers collected stool, blood and urine samples from the volunteers during both stages of the experiment.
They found that after four weeks of eating the grape powder, all of the volunteers saw increases in gut biome diversity. Prior research has shown that increased gut biome diversity tends to be associated with a strong immune system. Notably, levels of Akkermansia bacteria, which is known to have a positive impact on glucose levels and lipid metabolism, increased. The researchers also found a decrease in overall cholesterol levels of 6.1 percent and a 5.9 percent drop in LDL. And they also found some steroid acids in bile dropped by 40.9 percent—prior research has shown they play a role in cholesterol metabolism.
More information: Jieping Yang et al, Effect of Standardized Grape Powder Consumption on the Gut Microbiome of Healthy Subjects: A Pilot Study, Nutrients (2021). DOI: 10.3390/nu13113965
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