Eating grapes may help relieve anxiety and also minimize anxiety-related hypertension and cognitive impairments, according to a new rat study by researchers at the University of Houston.
It is the antioxidants in the grapes that seem to play a protective role on anxiety-like behavior, learning and memory function, and hypertension. The research was presented at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California.
Although anxiety disorders, cognitive impairment and hypertension are distinct and complex disorders, they share key features and often overlap. For example, one-fourth of the 40 million Americans with an anxiety disorder also have hypertension.
Furthermore, oxidative stress is considered a contributor to learning and memory problems, although the reason for this is not yet clear.
The researchers used a rat model to examine the role of oxidative stress as it related to both anxiety-cognitive impairment and hypertension.
They discovered that feeding the rodents a grape-enriched diet for two weeks prevented the anxious behavior, learning and memory problems, as well as a rise in blood pressure compared to the rats with induced oxidative stress but no grapes in their diet.
“These results suggest promising potential for grapes in a very important area of health,” said Samina Salim, Ph.D., the lead investigator.
“We attribute the benefits of the grapes to their antioxidant activity and their ability to combat oxidative stress.”
Grapes were provided in the form of a freeze-dried whole grape powder by the California Table Grape Commission.
Source: University of Houston