Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death globally. Many cardiovascular risk factors can be modified through lifestyle modification, including dietary patterns that emphasize daily consumption of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Recent observational and clinical studies suggest that flavonoids, especially those abundant in grapes and other berries, may be associated with health benefits, particularly cardiovascular benefits. Human clinical data support cardioprotective benefits of grapes through inhibition of platelet aggregation, decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, reduction in oxidative stress and improvements in endothelial function. Emerging evidence suggests that grapes may also have a favorable effect on blood lipids, decrease inflammation and reduce blood pressure in certain populations. Studies to date have shown that berries can have a beneficial effect on reducing LDL oxidation. Limited data suggest that berries may have a favorable effect on endothelial health and blood pressure. This review summarizes the current literature on human clinical studies examining the cardioprotective benefits of grapes and berries. Collectively, these data support the recommendation to incorporate products made with grapes and other berries into a heart-healthy diet.
Keywords: LDL oxidation; berry; cardiovascular health; endothelial function; flavonoids; grape.
© 2014 Society of Chemical Industry.