California Table Grape Commission Reveals New Study Finding Grapes Increase Diversity of Gut Bacteria and Lower Cholesterol; Zhaoping Li Comments
FRESNO, CA - Table grapes continue to remain a top category for many consumers, and the California Table Grape Commission is discovering new ways to position it for further growth. Recently, a new clinical study published in the scientific journal Nutrients found that consuming grapes significantly increased the diversity of bacteria in the gut and decreased cholesterol levels, presenting yet another health benefit that buyers can wield to boost the category.
“We found that grapes have a beneficial effect on gut bacteria, which is great news, since a healthy gut is critical to good health,” said Principal Investigator Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, who led the study. “This study deepens our knowledge and expands the range of health benefits for grapes, even as the study reinforces the heart health benefits of grapes with lowered cholesterol.”
During the intervention study conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles, healthy subjects consumed the equivalent of 1.5 cups of grapes per day for four weeks while maintaining a low fiber and low polyphenol diet throughout the study. After the four weeks, the subjects saw an increase in microbial diversity as measured by the Shannon index, a commonly used tool for measuring diversity of species. As noted in the press release, Akkermansia was among the beneficial bacteria that increased, a bacteria of keen interest for its beneficial effect on glucose and lipid metabolism.
Additionally, subjects observed a decrease in blood cholesterols, including total cholesterol by 6.1 percent and LDL cholesterol by 5.9 percent. Bile acids, which are linked to cholesterol metabolism, also decreased by 40.9 percent.
These recent findings suggest a crucial role for table grapes in gut and heart health, and reinforces the benefits of them to consumers. With health and the immune system remaining top of mind for many shoppers, these key benefits offer retailers another way to appeal to shoppers and draw them in, thus driving more traffic to the table grape category.
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