Eat more grapes to ensure a healthier gut — and a healthier heart, too

The daily consumption of grapes offers surprising benefits to both gut health and cholesterol metabolism, according to a recent study. Specific microbes found in grapes help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, say researchers. 

The Beneficial Microbe 

Principal Investigator, Zhaoping Li, M.D, Ph.D. led a study over a four-week period in which healthy subjects consumed 1.5 cups of grapes per day. In addition to eating grapes, the subjects maintained a low fiber/low polyphenol diet throughout the duration of the study. 

Grapes
Specific microbes found in grapes help increase the number of good bacteria in the gut, say researchers.  (Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels)

At the four-week marker, a significant amount of microbial diversity was measured using the Shannon Index, an indicator measuring diversity in a common species. Namely, a specific bacteria, Akkermansia, was found in abundance. This bacteria provides several key benefits, including its impact on glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as its ability to protect the integrity of the intestinal lining.  

When observing the effects on cholesterol, total blood cholesterol was reduced by 6.1%, and LDL cholesterol was reduced by 5.9%. Another notable discovery was the impact on bile acids. Bile acids are directly linked to cholesterol metabolism and they were reduced by a total of 40.9%

The findings produced a favorable outcome showing that grape consumption has a beneficial correlation to increasing gut bacteria, which has been known to have an overall impact on good health. Furthermore, new data reinforces the positive correlation between grape consumption and improved cholesterol numbers and heart health.  
This study was published in the journal Nutrients.


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