Study links grape consumption to healthy gut

Wednesday, 17 November, 2021

Study links grape consumption to healthy gut

Research published in Nutrients by researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles suggests that eating grapes, packed with nutrients, is a useful way of increasing healthy gut bacteria and reducing cholesterol.

The study involved controlling the diet of participants for eight weeks. For the first half of the study, participants ate a diet low in fibre and polyphenols. For the remaining four weeks, the researchers introduced grapes, in powdered form, to the diet in order to assess the nutritional impacts. The diet otherwise remained the same.

Throughout the study data was collected and tests were performed, and when the eight weeks were up analyses were undertaken. The results show that introducing grapes into the diets of participants had a positive impact on their health.

The levels of blood cholesterol and bile acid were both reduced by significant amounts each. Gut health also benefited, with the healthy bacteria Akkermansia present in the intestines after the introduction of grapes to the diet. These bacteria have been associated with glucose and lipid metabolism and intestinal integrity.

The researchers suggest more work is on the horizon in order to properly assess the nutritional benefit of the fruit. The presence of sugar in the grape powder might have a detrimental effect on the growing of healthy bacteria and on blood cholesterol. The study also did not include a control group, so the simple act of introducing a fibrous fruit into the diet may have had an impact on the health outcomes of the study participants.

The full paper can be read here.

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