That's what a new study suggests. Till now, research had indicated that heart-healthy benefits come from antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins that are found in red grapes and contribute to the red colour.
But researchers say new evidence suggests the pulp of grapes appears to be just as heart-healthy as the skin, due to the presence of other types of antioxidants in the flesh.
This challenges the notion that red wines, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Pinot Noir etc., are better for the heart than white wines, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.
In the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and reported by the WebMD website, a group of American and Italian researchers compared the effect of feeding laboratory rats water or equal amounts of grape pulp extract, or grape skin extract for 30 days.
The results showed both extracts were equally effective in protecting the rats from induced heart attacks. Rats fed either grape skin or grape pulp extract had significantly smaller heart attacks compared with those fed water.
In addition, tests showed both extracts appeared to have the same level of antioxidant activity.
Researchers say the grape skin extract did contain high levels of anthocyanins, part of the group of antioxidants known as polyphenols. The pulp extract did not contain anthocyanins; but it was rich in other types of polyphenols.
"Although further study is needed to identify the principal ingredients responsible for the cardio protective abilities of the grape flesh, to the best of our knowledge, our study provides evidence for the first time that the flesh of grapes is equally cardio protective with respect to the skins," writes researcher M. Falchi of the University of Milan and colleagues.
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