How Healthy Are Grapes?
Relished by one generation after another for thousands of years, the nutrition benefits of grapes have been a blessing to the universe. They are available in various types and colors, and are cultivated in North and South America, Southern Europe, Africa, and Australia.
Grapes contain phytochemicals that impact on human health immensely: their potent antioxidants such as resveratrol protect against inflammation and cancer. They also promote heart health and make a healthy addition to anti-diabetic diets. That`s not all, as they improve vision and increase bone strength. Let`s delve into the world of grapes, and discuss their many health benefits.
10 Health Benefits of Grapes
Improve Heart Health
Fruits are popular for improving heart health, however, grapes, in particular, are super-great at ensuring the heart is in a healthy state. The flavonoids, phenolic acids, and resveratrol in grapes are potent enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. What`s more? Grape polyphenols have antioxidant properties that lower the levels of unhealthy cholesterol, and as a result, prevent atherosclerosis, which is a severe cardiac condition. The resveratrol content, along with other proanthocyanidins, reduces the risk of ischemic heart disease. Some studies reveal that daily intake of grape polyphenols is effective in lowering systolic blood pressure in humans.
Reduce the Risk of Diabetes
Grapes have a glycemic index, making them healthy anti-diabetes fruits, especially when you consume them in moderate quantities. Its resveratrol, quercetin, and catechin content also have the capacity to reduce blood sugar levels. Grapes combat oxidative stress, and this, to a large extent, improves diabetes symptoms. The proanthocyanidins in grape seeds also prevent peripheral neuropathy, which is a severe diabetes complication. That`s not all, as resveratrol in grapes prevents diabetic neuropathy by boosting motor nerve conduction velocity and nerve blood flow.
Juice from purple grapes boosts cognition and enhances the moods of adults. The juice of concord grapes, a grape variety, positively affects brain aging and behavior. Consuming grapes along with other high-antioxidant foods such as walnuts and berries boosts cognitive and motor function. Resveratrol also increases hippocampal neurogenesis, which is the growth and development of nervous tissue in the hippocampus. This is particularly beneficial for people in their middle age, as it boosts their memory and mood function. Dietary resveratrol is effective in preventing age-associated neurodegeneration and improves cognitive impairment in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Improve Eye Health
Oxidative stress and inflammation are key culprits of vision issues. The polyphenols in grapes are potent enough to combat these factors, thereby improving eye health. Resveratrol also benefits the eyes by decreasing the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species, thereby preventing severe eye ailments like glaucoma. Resveratrol is also useful in treating age-related macular degeneration. Some studies also suggest that grapes may also be beneficial in preventing cataracts.
Protect against Cancer
Grapes and grape-based products have chemopreventive qualities, making them a reliable option for the prevention of breast cancer and some other types of cancer. Their bioactive compounds such as resveratrol, catechins, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids also aid cancer prevention. These compounds also combat free radicals that cause cancer. Muscadine grape, grown in Mexico, particularly prevents prostate cancer, due to its ellagic acid and quercetin content.
Prevent Inflammation and Boost Immunity
Grape intake is linked to increased anti-inflammatory signs in the human body. This is due to its polyphenol content. Concord grapes, in particular, boost immunity and specifically elevate circulating gamma delta T cells ― cells that have a prominent role in the body’s defense system. Some studies also show that the grapes` anthocyanin content boosts immunity.
Grapes strengthen bones and enhance bone formation. They contain proanthocyanidins which are effective in ameliorating osteoarthritis. They may also prevent cartilage damage and promote other aspects of bone health.
Oxidative stress speeds up aging. The antioxidant content in grapes combats oxidative stress, and this delays the signs of aging and promotes longevity.
Prevent Microbial Infections
Grape extracts, particularly those of red grapes, have antimicrobial properties. They`re also rich in vitamin C that promotes immune function. Grapes also support cellular functions and fight pathogens. Grapes` resveratrol content also has some essential effects here ― they have potent antiviral and cytotoxic properties that prevent various viral infections.
Prevent Skin Harm
The resveratrol in grapes combats oxidative stress which is a factor that negatively impacts skin health. Resveratrol also protects the skin from UV-induced skin damage and prevents skin cancer and skin inflammation. The resveratrol in grapes also aids acne treatment by restraining propionibacterium acnes, which are acne-causing bacteria. What`s more? Combining the antioxidant with benzoyl peroxide, a common acne medication, may enhance its ability to treat acne.
How to Include Grapes in your Diet
To enjoy the amazing taste of grapes, have them as they are, however, for more nutrition and added taste, you may add some other fruits to it. You can also add chilled grapes to your pasta, sweet potatoes, or fish. You could also serve with crusty bread rolls on the side. You have loads of other options such as adding some frozen grapes to your champagne and bubbly drinks or adding them to your yogurt or ice cream.
There are some other popular grape recipes you might want to try. These recipes are super easy to prepare, and are highly nutritious.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes with Walnuts
- 24 ounces of grapes
- 24 ounces of Brussels sprouts
- 4 tablespoons of fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup of chopped walnuts
- Coarse salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
How to Make it
- Heat the oven to 450oF.
- Put the grapes and Brussels sprouts on two rimmed baking sheets.
- Add the oil and thyme.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for about 20 minutes, until it`s tender.
- Sprinkle each tray with a teaspoon of vinegar.
- Add the walnuts and serve.
- 3 cups of green and red seedless grapes
- ½ cup of unsalted cold butter (cut into pieces)
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ cup of rolled oats
- Pastry cream for the grape tart
How to Make it
- Preheat the oven to 400oF.
- Pulse the sugar, flour, and salt in a food processor.
- Add butter to the mixture and pulse until it looks like a coarse meal.
- Add two tablespoons of ice water and process it till the mixture comes together.
- Add oats and pulse again to combine.
- Press the dough against the bottom and sides of a pan.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, until it turns golden.
- Remove from the pan and let it cool.
- Whisk the cooled pastry until it`s smooth.
- Spread evenly on the crust and arrange grapes on the top.
- Wait for about a day, and dust with some confectioner’s sugar before serving.
Side Effects of Grapes
May Interfere with Blood Thinners
Grapes contain vitamin K which may interfere with blood-thinning drugs because the vitamin contributes to the formation of blood clots.
Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
There isn`t much information on the safety of grapes during pregnancy and breastfeeding, however, if you have to consume them, do so in moderate quantities. It is safe to consult with your doctor before consuming them.
Now that you Know…
Grapes are available in different colors, and they all have similar benefits. Including them in your diets is quite easy. Try the recipes discussed, and see which best suits you. Whatever you decide, ensure that you consume grapes regularly to enjoy the nutrition benefits.