BETHESDA, Maryland, March 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --
Background Stress can contribute to so many problems, from physical ailments to forgetting important tasks to becoming distracted behind the wheel. Nonetheless, most of us need to manage the stress in our life because eliminating its root causes is not an option. Some research has suggested that one somewhat untapped possibility in this regard can be found in the foods and beverages we choose on a daily basis. For instance, a growing scientific literature suggests that increasing consumption of a group of naturally occurring plant nutrients referred to as polyphenols might improve cognitive function and memory. However, whether this benefit occurs in stressed individuals has not been rigorously tested in clinical trials. To help fill this research gap, a group of scientists led by Louise Dye (University of Leeds, United Kingdom) studied the effects of consuming polyphenol-rich Concord grape juice in one of today's most stressed groups of individuals: working mothers. Their results, published in the March 2016 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, are good news for anyone trying to manage the multiple demands of a busy, stress-filled life.
Study Design To be eligible to participate in this study, women needed to be healthy, between 40 and 50 years old, working at least 30 hours a week, and have at least one preteen child. A total of 25 women were studied. Women were randomly assigned to consume either a serving (12 ounces) of Concord grape juice or purple-colored, sugar-sweetened, grape-flavored beverage daily for 3 months. Four weeks later, each participant consumed the other treatment for a subsequent 3 months. At the beginning, middle, and end of each study period each participant underwent a series of cognitive functioning assessments to test memory, and a sub-sample of participants were tested in the Leeds Advanced Driving Simulator, a state-of-the-art virtual driving experience to test safety-related aspects of their performance behind the wheel.
Results and Conclusions Both memory and driving performance were improved when the women consumed grape juice compared to when they consumed the placebo beverage. Moreover, these benefits appeared to continue even after they stopped drinking the real juice, suggesting a possible long-term benefit. The authors posit that the benefits of grape juice are probably due to their polyphenol content. Concord grape juice has been shown to provide cardiovascular benefits, as well as positively affect memory in older adults with early memory decline. This new research builds on these previously completed studies, suggesting that the cognitive benefits associated with Concord grape juice are not exclusive to older adults.
Lamport DJ, Lawton CL, Merat N, Jamson H, Myrissa K, Hofman D, Chadwick HK, Quadt F, Wightman JD, Dye L. Concord grape juice, cognitive function, and driving performance: a 12-wk, placebo-controlled, randomized crossover trial in mothers of preteen children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016;103:775-83.
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SOURCE The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition