Grape Juice Seen as Heart Aid
The director of the University of Wisconsin's Coronary Thrombosis Laboratory tells the American College of Cardiology in Atlanta that grape juice could be a replacement for low-dose aspirin therapy commonly prescribed to prevent heart attacks.
In fact, says John Folts, tests indicate the "purple grape juice platelet inhibitory effect may be stronger than published standards for aspirin therapy." The measurement of platelet aggregation -- or so-called "stickiness" -- quantifies, among other things, the blood's tendency to form clots and adhere to imperfections in the walls of blood vessels. High levels of platelet aggregation are considered a contributing factor for heart attack and stroke.
Alternatives to aspirin are of keen research interest because of the limitations of an aspirin regimen. Dr. Folts says some patients experience stomach upset when using aspirin and the drug's effectiveness as a platelet inhibitor is reduced when the body produces increased amounts of adrenaline during moments of stress or when exercising vigorously.
Purple grape juice, on the other hand, is easily digested, appears not to be affected by adrenaline, is non-alcoholic, and counts as a serving of fruit within the often-referenced "Five-A-Day" dietary guidelines for consumption of fruits and vegetables, Folts says.