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Grape Juice - Better Than Wine?

        Resveratrol may aid in fighting disease, from strokes to cancer

Ithaca, N.Y.--Non-wine drinkers, take heart. You, too, may benefit from resveratrol--found in wine and thought to lower cholesterol--by drinking grape juice.

When a Cornell University plant scientist last year identified the chemical in wine that is suspected to reduce heart disease risk, he was besieged by non-wine drinkers who clamored to know if they could benefit from drinking grape juice.

After analyzing 1990 and 1991 Welch's grape juice samples from three different geographical regions, Leroy Creasy, professor of pomology in the New York state College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell, says the answer is a resounding "yes."

All of the 18 grape juice samples analyzed so far contained more resveratrol than 60 percent of the wines analyzed, although one of them had as high a concentration as some of the red wines, Creasy said. And while the amount of resveratrol in wines varies widely--with some wines lacking detectable amounts--the resveratrol in purple grape juice is "amazingly constant," Creasy said. The reason, he suspects, is that purple grape juice is usually made from the same grape variety--Concord--and the juice-making process is less variable than wine-making processes.

Creasy had been studying resveratrol as a compound that grapes produce to fight fungal disease. He had found, for example, that disease-resistant varieties of grapes make much more resveratrol than susceptible varieties.

He analyzed wine for resveratrol after research in Japan indicated that resveratrol lowered cholesterol in rats and reduced the rate of platelet aggregation associated with clogging the arteries and heart disease, and studies in France pointed to beneficial effects of moderate red wine consumption.

Creasy and a former technician, Evan Siemann, announced last summer that, in general, red wines tend to be higher in resveratrol. Red Bordeaux wine had, by far, the highest amount found so far. Their findings on the analysis of 30 wines were published in the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, Vol 43, No. 1, 1992.

Cresy's research showed that resveratrol is present in the skin of grapes. So only wines fermented with their skins have relatively high resveratrol concentrations. Although grape juice is not fermented, Creasy found that the hot press method used in juice-making effectively extracts resveratrol from the skin and seeds.

"Consumers concerned about their cholesterol should follow their physician's diet and medication advice for reducing cholesterol," Creasy said. "Drinking grape juice, however, might help, without any of the side effects associated with alcohol consumption." Creasy's next step is to analyze other grape products for resveratrol, including jellies, jams, non-alcoholic wines and raisins.


Other Valuable Articles about Resveratrol on SeniorARK:

Grape Compound Aids Cancer Chemotherapy, Study Says

Resveratrol Stroke Prevention

Advanced-Cancer Healing. Was it Resveratrol?

Resveratrol and Studies in Mice

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