Can Eating Grapes Improve Your Memory?

Pilot study highlights role of grapes
in preventing Alzheimer’s disease
Implications for Memory & Attentional Struggles in Alphabet City

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Edited Reblog from the ClinicalNews blog
Ralph Turchiano on February 3, 2017

Brand New Study suggests Good News!

Grape-enriched diet prevents metabolic brain decline,
improves attention and memory
Public Release: 3-Feb-2017: California Table Grape Commission FRESNO, CA

Consuming grapes twice a day for six months protected against significant metabolic decline in Alzheimer-related areas of the brain in a study of people with early memory decline.

Low metabolic activity in these areas of the brain is a hallmark of early stage Alzheimer’s disease. Study results showed a grape-enriched diet protected against the decline of metabolic activity.

Alzheimer’s disease. as most people know, is a brain disease that results in a slow decline of memory and cognitive skills. Although it’s cause is not yet fully understood, it is believed result from a combination of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors.

Currently 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — and the numbers continue to grow.

Study implications for EFD

Scientists noted that the group that was given the grape-enriched diet also exhibited increased metabolism in other areas of the brain that correlated with individual improvements in attention and working memory performance, compared to those on the non-grape diet.

That’s encouraging news for those of us with Executive Functioning Disorders.

EFD, remember, is the term used to describe problems with cognitive abilities that most adults take for granted as products of intelligence, education and maturity — items like planning, problem solving, concentration, mental flexibility, and controlling short-term behavior to achieve long-term goals.

Newly published information

Results of the randomized controlled research study, conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles, were recently published in Experimental Gerontology. [1]

“The study examines the impact of grapes as a whole fruit versus isolated compounds and the results suggest that regular intake of grapes may provide a protective effect against early decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Daniel H. Silverman, lead investigator of the study.

“This pilot study contributes to the growing evidence that supports a beneficial role for grapes in neurologic and cardiovascular health, however more clinical studies with larger groups of subjects are needed to confirm the effects observed here.”

Lee, J., Torosyan, N., and Silverman, D.H. (2017). Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study. Experimental Gerontology, 87 (Pt A):121-128. Doi:10.1016/j.exger.2016.10.004.

About the Study

Subjects with early memory decline were randomly selected to receive either whole grape powder* – equivalent to just 2 ¼ cups of grapes per day – or a polyphenol-free placebo powder matched for flavor and appearance.

  • Cognitive performance was measured at baseline and 6 months later.
  • Changes in brain metabolism, assessed by brain PET scans, were also measured at baseline and 6 months later.

PET scans provide valuable predictive and diagnostic value to clinicians evaluating patients with dementia symptoms.

*UPDATE from my response to a comment below:  The powder doesn’t seem to be available commercially — the reason for its use in the study was to standardize dosage – otherwise the results would not be reliable and would never have been able to be replicated.

And what did they find out?

The results showed that consuming grapes preserved healthy metabolic activity in the regions of the brain that are affected by the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold.

Subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions.

In addition, they noted that the group that was given the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in working memory performance and cognition.

Why Grapes?

Grape polyphenols help promote antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

Research suggests that grapes may help support brain health by working in multiple ways:

  • reducing oxidative stress in the brain
  • promoting healthy blood flow in the brain
  • helping maintain levels of a key brain chemical that promotes memory
  • exerting anti-inflammatory effects [2].

] Maher, P. (2016). Grapes and the brain. In J.M. Pezzuto (Ed.), Grapes and health (pp. 139-161). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing. Doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-28995-3.

Source: Pilot study highlights role of grapes in preventing Alzheimer’s disease – ClinicalNews.Org

More Good News about Grapes

Grapes have been given “super food” status for good reason!

They are rich sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate, as well as essential minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium.

High in water content, grapes are good for hydration. Not only that, high water-content fruits and vegetables are what they call “nutrient dense,” meaning that they provide a large amount of essential nutrients in only a few calories.

Grapes are high in antioxidants important for eye health, too such as lutein and zeaxanthin. The skins of RED grapes contain the phytochemical resveratrol, the same antioxidant found in red wine, long noted to seem to offer protection from more than a few chronic diseases and conditions.

Antioxidants known as polyphenols may also prevent or slow the progression of many types of cancer, including esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate and colon, according to several sources.

Grapes also make use of the power of the flavonoids myricetin and quercetin, helping our bodies counter-act harmful free radical formation – which slows down aging.

What health issues might grapes help improve?

Although more research is needed before any of these health benefits can be said to be conclusive, grapes have been associated with reducing the risk of the following conditions:

  1. Cancer
  2. Heart Disease
  3. High Blood Pressure
  4. Constipation
  5. Allergies
  6. Asthma
  7. Bone Health
  8. Heart diseases
  9. Diabetes
  10. Diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy
  11. even Acne, especially when combined with Acne medication

More detail about each of the above can be found HERE.

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About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

64 Responses to Can Eating Grapes Improve Your Memory?

  1. bethbyrnes says:

    This article of yours on grapes is wonderful. I eat a fresh homemade fruit salad every single day and grapes, berries, apples, bananas are always in it along with seasonal fruit like peaches, apricots, etc. I also eat a stalk of celery for many of these same purposes.

    The big thing is to drop a meat-centered diet. Once meat or chicken are no longer the item around which everything else is built, the healthy and delicious possibilities multiply exponentially.

    My biggest weakness is dessert, so I try to force myself to avoid it. I do confess to having M&Ms, a handful, though. Fruit makes a much better choice. Grapes are the best way to get resveratrol too, another major health nutrient.


    • Thank you, Beth. Your description of your daily salad seems like the best reason I’ve heard for moving to California – practically year-round availability of fresh fruit! I have always adored salad – fruit and otherwise.

      Funny – except for, primarily, a few brief forays into fad diets when I was much younger, meat has rarely been the centerpiece of my diet. From the time I was a little girl, my siblings and I were encouraged to fill up on salads and “sides” (as they were called). I’m sure having to feed 7 on an Air Force salary drove some of that rigor, but my mom was always big on three vegetables of different colors on every plate.

      But wait – M&Ms aren’t a vegetable? 🙂


  2. Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:
    Grapes eh? Who’d a thought it? :0)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Huh… That’s unexpected information. Interesting for sure, Madelyn. Have a thriving Thursday. Mega hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Soul Gifts says:

    might have to add them to my shopping list…. as a preventative 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Adding grapes to grocery shopping list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lisa Orchard says:

    Thanks for sharing this info! I plan on eating more grapes from now on! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. mistermuse says:

    I had sour grapes when Trump was elected, and since then, I can’t forget that he’s President, no matter how hard I try….which would seem to prove not only that grapes work, but they don’t lose their effectiveness even when they turn sour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And THAT is a point on which I agree 100%. I still can’t *believe* he is president.

      Maybe too many years of rotten apples allowed too many Americans to believe that changing fruits might be different (and not worse).

      Difficult for me to believe that many are still claiming they like the tastes they are currently getting, however.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. noelleg44 says:

    Any excuse to eat grapes, Madelyn. Thanks! Would wine be a good substitute? But not twice a day. Wonder about Alzheimer’s rates in countries where wine is heavily consumed, like Italy and France.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure, Noelle – but other health stats are encouraging. A glass or two with meals is actually being touted as a good thing to add to the daily menu (breakfast excepted, and not the huge wine glasses that have become popular in the US). But I’m fairly certain that wine is not a “substitute” where all benefits are concerned.

      NOTE that this is a prelim study, and that the funding came from the Grape folks (lol – as if the pharmaceutical industry is going to fund a study like this?)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dgkaye says:

    Fantastic article Madelyn. No doubt resveratrol (?) is the key to the goodness. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. reocochran says:

    I would much rather eat grapes for my mind over many other choices. So glad to learn this, Madelyn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. -Eugenia says:

    I am a fan of grapes. They are a great snack and help to get rid of a craving for sweets.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Soz. Can’t do it gf! Did a season of grapes. That included 3 days of just picking petritus. (FYI;Mouldy grapes) mmmmmm, chemical. Desert wine. Just can’t export it. Stupid me, I’ll just drink wine right? Same thing? (I don’t like wine…..)Old-Timers, sign me up! 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Bernadette says:

    Grapes are definitely becoming a staple at our house immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. We are really lucky in our place ‘up north’ in Aotearoa NZ that we are growing our own heritage variety grapes…so, as soon as I read your article Madelyn, I rushed out and snipped some extra bunches off the vine. I count myself as incredibly lucky to be able to eat sun warmed grapes – and know it’s doing my brain good! What’s not to like 😀 Thanks for sharing xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  15. akiwifreund says:

    Out of curiosity, I went and looked for grape powder as a product, because that was what was used for the study. It’s not available from what I’ve been able to find. As has been pointed out, it’s best to get our nutrients the old-fashioned way and eat whole foods, but the people in the study saw benefit from the powder. I’d be happy to get my hands on the powder since I’m stuck in bed and can’t go grocery shopping – and sometimes that’s just what you have to do to fill in the gaps. But I also wonder if there are any bad side effects.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t believe it is available commercially — YET! I’m sure it’s on its way now, however. 🙂

      The reason for the powder in the study was so that they could standardize dosage – otherwise the study results would never have been able to be replicated.

      I suppose side effects would depend on extraction methods. Heat couldn’t be used if nutrients were to be conserved, so … chemicals?

      I’ll keep my eye peeled for more – although the Grape Council will probably shout THIS from the rooftops. Their industry has really struggled since the boycotts (probably why they decided to fund this study).

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Hey this is cool, more grapes for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Simply-Me says:

    Wow, I’m going to add grapes to my diet soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I am not so sure about this study, considering the funding source.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Zara says:

    That’s really interesting. Alzheimer’s affects more people in the UK than cancer but it doesn’t get the same level of funding/publicity and not many people are aware of it. I’ll make sure to share this where I can. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  20. robjodiefilogomo says:

    I’m a huge believer that “real” food can make a difference in our bodies!! It’s always such good news when I read about these studies, because I think our bodies react better to food than some medications!!
    Yay, grapes!! (And on that note, I think I’ll go have some wine….that’s another form of grapes, right?)

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