Concord Grapes and Health
Power of the Concord Grape
For years leading researchers have been investigating the nutrition power of Concord grapes. Growing evidence now suggests that eating and drinking Concord grapes and Concord grape products, as part of a produce-rich diet and active lifestyle, may positively impact health. Concord grape research has focused mainly on the fruit’s role in cardiovascular or heart health, but other emerging areas are also being studied. Discover more on the state of this research below:
Cardiovascular (Heart) Health
As part of a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, Concord grapes may be one important ingredient for maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. More than a decade’s worth of science indicates that Concord grape juice may help support flexible arteries to promote healthy blood flow. And while additional research is necessary to draw any conclusions, early findings suggest that Concord grapes have the potential to play a role in helping certain groups of people maintain healthy blood pressure. Find out what has been uncovered.
Cognitive (Mind) Health
Researchers have begun investigating the role of Concord grapes in cognitive health. The research in this area is very preliminary, yet emerging science suggests that Concord grapes may offer certain cognitive health benefits. Recent studies indicate that Concord grape juice may help slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline. More research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn, but find out what has been uncovered.
Immune System Health
Very preliminary science suggests that the immune system may be supported by the plant nutrients (phytonutrients) and micronutrients found within Concord grapes. More research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn, but find out what has been uncovered.
A comprehensive literature review published in the November 2010 issue of Nutrition Reviews provides a summary of the well-established and emerging areas of research on the role of grapes and grape products (including Concord grape juice) in promoting health. Learn more
Concord Grapes and Nutritious Diets
Most people fall short on getting enough fruit in their diet every day, and Concord grapes and Concord grape juice can help people easily squeeze more vibrantly colored fruit into a healthy daily diet.
Research has found that drinking 100% juice made with Concord grapes in moderation can be part of a balanced diet while maintaining a healthy weight.
Specifically, while more research is necessary, early studies have shown that daily, moderate consumption of grape juice does not significantly impact weight.3-6
Guide to Navigating Research Studies
The definition of scientific research is performing a methodical study in order to prove a theory or answer a question. The following is a brief overview of different types of research used in health and nutrition exploration 1:
1. Hulley SB, Cummings SR, Browner WS, Grady D, Hearst N, Newman TB. Designing Clinical Research: An Epidemiologic Approach. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2007.
Grape Research Overview
For nearly 20 years, researchers have been exploring an important mix of plant nutrients – polyphenols – found in Concord grapes and the effects they have on the body, including possible benefits in supporting cardiovascular health. In addition, emerging research is being conducted to determine whether Concord grapes play a role in supporting a healthy mind and immune system. See the research.
An observational study, usually a retrospective study (a study that looks backward in time) that compares two groups of people: 1) those with the specific condition (e.g., disease) being studied (cases) and, 2) a similar group of people without that condition (controls). Researchers compare these two groups of people and important characteristics, such as certain lifestyle choices, to determine what factors may be associated with the condition under investigation.
A type of study that often includes patients with specific health conditions who could benefit from receiving a new treatment. These studies can also be performed in healthy subjects. The end goal of a clinical study (also called clinical research or clinical trial) is to determine effectiveness and safety of a health intervention in humans.
An observational study, usually prospective (looking forward), that follows a group of similar people over time. The goal is to determine which factors and exposures affect the development of a specific outcome or health condition (e.g., disease) during the study’s time period.
A type of observational study, often given as a survey, that examines a group of subjects during a single occasion, or over a very short period of time. This type of study aims to describe the relationship between health-related conditions (e.g., metabolic syndrome, hypertension) and other factors that exist in the general population (e.g., dietary intake, physical activity levels), during a particular time period.
A type of study in which researchers simply observe subjects and measure the associations between certain characteristics (e.g., fruit/vegetable intake) and specific outcomes (e.g., obesity). Examples of observational studies include case-control studies, cross-sectional studies, and cohort studies. While these studies gather important information, they cannot prove that a specific treatment or factor affects health.
A small scale, preliminary study that is conducted to determine the potential for a larger study.
A stage of research that often occurs prior to trials involving humans. This type of research can help determine mechanisms of action of a treatment, or how the treatment is causing the effect, as well as help ensure the safety of treatment in subsequent human trials.
Testing performed in a controlled environment, such as a test tube or a Petri dish, instead of living organisms. In vitro literally means "within the glass" in Latin.
These experiments are performed on tissue (e.g., animal or human cells) taking place outside of the organism, such as in a laboratory setting. In Latin, this means "out of the living."
These tests are done on whole, living organisms. Technically, animal and human testing are two forms of in vivo research, which means "within the living." These experiments may be performed outside of a laboratory setting.
A study designed to provide the most credible information about the cause and effects of treatment. These types of studies are recognized as unbiased because they involve the random assignment of treatments to subjects being studied.
The tendency throughout any stage of research to generate findings that may not reflect "true values." In clinical trials, researchers try to avoid many kinds of bias, including selection by randomizing subjects, measurement by creating placebos and performing blind trials, and confounding by carefully designing the study and analyzing the findings.
Study in which subjects do not know whether they receive the treatment or the placebo, which assists in prevention of bias. Double-blinded studies are a higher level of scientific rigor because neither the participants nor the investigators know who is receiving the treatment or the placebo. A double-blind crossover study means each participant undergoes both the treatment and control scenario, typically with a wash-out period in between.
Study that allows researchers to isolate the effect size of the treatment by comparing a group given a simulated treatment (e.g., grape flavored drink) to those with the real treatment (e.g., Concord grape juice), which reduces measurement bias. The placebo should match as closely as possible to the treatment without containing the active ingredients.
Study involving participants who are randomly assigned to either the treatment or the placebo group, reducing selection bias.