Grapes increase gut biome diversity and lower cholesterol


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A team of researchers from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California has found evidence that eating grapes can increase the diversity of the gut biome and also lower blood cholesterol levels. In their article published in the magazine nutrients, describes the group of experiments where they fed volunteers grape powder for four weeks.

Prior research has shown that eating certain fruits, such as apples and grapes, can promote healthy blood vessels because they contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Eating such fruits also lowers blood sugar and blood pressure. And in some cases, polyphenol consumption has been shown to reduce inflammation, a contributing factor to heart disease. In this new effort, the researchers looked at other possible health benefits of eating grapes.

To learn more about possible positive health benefits, the group enlisted the help of 19 healthy adults. They each ate a special diet low in polyphenols and fiber for four weeks. Then each subject ate the same diet, but with the addition of grape powder. The volunteers ate 46 grams of the powder each day, which is equivalent to two servings of grapes. The researchers collected stool, blood and urine samples from the volunteers during both phases of the experiment.

They found that after four weeks of eating the grape powder, all volunteers saw an increase in the diversity of the gut biome. Prior research has shown that increased gut biome diversity is often associated with a strong immune system. In particular, levels of Akkermansia bacteria, which are known to positively affect glucose levels and lipid metabolism, increased. The researchers also found a 6.1 percent drop in total cholesterol and a 5.9 percent drop in LDL. And they also found that some steroid acids in the bile decreased by 40.9 percent — previous research has shown they play a role in cholesterol metabolism.

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More information:
Jieping Yang et al, Effect of standardized grape powder consumption on the gut microbiome of healthy subjects: a pilot study, nutrients (2021). DOI: 10.3390/nu13113965

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