Accumulating evidence suggests that consumption of grapes and grape products can positively influence risk factors associated with cardiovascular health, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and age-related cognitive decline. These effects are often attributed to the antioxidant activity and function of flavonoid compounds found in grapes as well as other actions such as increasing nitric oxide production. The well-established health effects of grapes on cardiovascular disease risk, mainly on endothelial function, LDL oxidation, progression of atherosclerosis, and reduction in oxidative stress, have been clearly identified. Emerging research has also demonstrated that grapes have beneficial effects on other chronic-degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, age-related cognitive decline, and diabetes. Further beneficial effects of grapes on oral health, immune function, and antiviral activity have also been reported. This review examines the published evidence on the human health benefits associated with grapes and grape products, with animal and cell studies included for areas in which human research is either limited or unavailable.
© 2010 International Life Sciences Institute.