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Eating grapes can ward off dementia and extend your life by five years, study finds

·2 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Eating grapes can reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life, a new study has found.

The finding, which came as part of a series of studies published in the journal Foods, was included in an extensive list of positive impacts that eating the fruit can have on your health.

According to researchers, the fruit is especially beneficial so those who live by high-fat western diets, since they are known to be rich in chemicals that boost healthy gut bacteria and lower cholesterol.

Grapes are also high in antioxidants which are known to improve health, and prevent disease and cancer in humans.

Antioxidants defend your cells from damage caused by free radicals either inside the body – inflammation, for example – or outside the body, such as pollution, UV, or cigarette smoke.

Now, the team of researchers have found that the antioxidants in grapes can protect the brain against developing dementia by improving the function of neurons or nerve cells.

It follows in the footsteps of several previous studies which found that inflammation in the brain is linked to several forms of dementia.

A second study by the Western New England University researchers revealed that eating grapes can lessen the risk of developing fatty liver disease – a condition caused by the storage of extra fat in the liver – and top-up your life expectancy by an extra five years.

Due to unhealthy eating habits, the condition is a growing health issue worldwide. And though rarely fatal, it can lead to liver failure or liver cancer if left untreated.

Grapes also burn calories as they are digested which, in turn, helps boost your metabolism, the team’s third study found.

The studies were conducted on mice that were fed high-fat diets typically consumed in western countries, with only half the mice receiving grape supplements.

The team then compared the brain, liver and metabolic health of the mice who were given grape supplements against with those who were not.

“It adds an entirely new dimension to the old saying ‘you are what you eat’,” the study’s co-author Dr John Pezzuto, said.

The professor of pharmaceutics, who has authored over 600 scientific studies, said that grapes ctually change the expression of genes, which he described as “truly remarkable.”

It comes amid studies into how humans switch their genes “on and off” in order to have control over the body’s development throughout life

Exercise, stress, diet, sleep and meditation are all thought to impact the expression of our genes.

While many take antioxidant supplements, Dr Pezzuto said it’s not possible to consume “enough” of an antioxidant to make a “big difference” to your health.

“But if you change the level of antioxidant gene expression, as we observed with grapes added to the diet, the result is a catalytic response that can make a real difference.”

The research was partly funded by The California Table Grape Commission, who provided the grapes used in the experiments.