One Powerful Ingredient for Health
Fruits and vegetables, including Concord and Niagara grapes, are abundant in polyphenols, and juice made with Concord grapes contains many different types of polyphenols shown to help promote health.1
Polyphenols and Antioxidant Power
Polyphenols are concentrated in the seeds and skin of both Concord and Niagara grapes and they act as antioxidants to help neutralize damaging free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can harm healthy cells.2,3 The polyphenols found in Concord grapes contribute to the antioxidant power of 100% grape juice, as measured by in vitro ORAC lab tests.1 Like its cousin the purple Concord grape, the white Niagara grape contains a unique mix of polyphenols.
Polyphenols and Cell-to-Cell Communications
Beyond the polyphenol’s antioxidant effects, these phytonutrients may impact health in other ways, including via cell signaling.
Polyphenols and Heart, Mind and Immune System Health
Many of the polyphenols in Concord grapes are the same as those found in red wine and may be associated with heart-health benefits.13,14 More than a decade’s worth of research suggests that drinking Concord grape juice may benefit the heart by helping to maintain healthy, clear and flexible arteries to promote healthy blood flow.14-18
Other prospective cohort studies have investigated the relationship between flavonoid (a polyphenol) intake and cardiovascular disease (CVD).19,20
Researchers have also begun investigating the role of Concord grapes in cognitive function. The science in this area is very preliminary, with more human trials needed before any conclusions can be drawn. However, emerging science suggests that, thanks to the polyphenols, Concord grapes may offer certain health benefits for the mind. Specifically, these preliminary results suggest that polyphenols help keep arteries flexible2,14-18 – which, in turn, can help promote healthy blood flow to the mind.21,22 Early research also proposes that a diet rich in antioxidants, like those found in fruits and vegetables, can help slow and possibly even reverse age-related cognitive decline.23,24 Also, a recent review supports that, while additional research is necessary, fruit-derived phytonutrients, like polyphenols, may play a role in supporting memory, learning and overall mental performance.22
Additional studies suggest that a diet rich in polyphenols can help support cognitive performance.25
Promising early research is also underway in the area of immune health.26-30
For more information on the research behind Concord grapes and health,
Early research suggests that phytonutrients, including polyphenols found in Concord and Niagara grapes, may have health benefits. These natural compounds are being actively investigated in the scientific community, and more research is needed before any conclusions can be drawn. Specifically, it’s important to note that much of the research to date has been conducted in laboratory settings and in select populations who, in some cases, had pre-existing health conditions. With that said, a diet high in phytonutrient-containing fruits and vegetables appears to support overall health by helping to positively impact inflammation and oxidative stress, among other possible benefits for overall health.
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.
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.