Looking to lose a few pounds? Red wine — or plain ol’ non-alcoholic red grapes — should do the trick. (Photo: Getty Images)
A new study out by researchers at Oregon State University found that when exposed to lab-grown human liver cells, the ellagic acid found in dark red Muscadine grapes shrunk existing fat cells and prevented new fat cells from growing. The chemical compounds found in grapes also increased the metabolic function of the liver.
Ellagic acid is an anti-oxidant also found in raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, walnuts, pecans, and pomegranates and has also been shown to slow tumor growth and kill cancer cells in cancer patients.
“If we could develop a dietary strategy for reducing the harmful accumulation of fat in the liver, using common foods like grapes that would be good news,” says Neil Shay, PhD, a professor of food science technology at Oregon State University and the study’s lead author.
Furthermore, the research team completed another investigation involving mice fed a high-fat diet, one group of which was also fed grape extracts while the other was not. The grape-eating mice “accumulated less fat in their livers and maintained lower blood sugar levels than those that did not receive supplements.” The results were so dramatic that the blood sugar levels of mice on the high-fat diet with grape extracts were equivalent to mice on healthy, well-balanced diets.
“If you’re out food shopping, and if you know a certain kind of fruit is good for a health condition you have, wouldn’t you want to buy that fruit?” adds Shay.
So when it comes to picking an afternoon snack, reach for the red grapes.
And when it comes to picking up the tab at happy hour, make sure you’ve reached for a few glasses of red wine.