Grapes are a small oval and tasty berry harvested all over the world and belonging to the Vitaceae botanic family. Their scientific name is Vitis Vinifera which means common grape. Grapes come in a variety of colors from crimson to black to yellow, but the darker they are the more packed with health benefits. They are most generally eaten raw, and have a crunchy sweet but sometimes tart taste. They typically have a translucent flesh encased by a smooth shiny skin. This fruit can be cooked or mashed to make jellies, jams, wines, raisins, vinegar, oil and molasses. Grapes were first brought to the U.S. in the 17th century by European travelers who migrated to the central valley of California where they thrive due to the climate and absence of grape preying insects. Today, California produces the majority of the grapes eaten in the states and they are among the most preferential fruits in the country.
There are many species of grapes that are consumed raw as table grapes and also many varieties that are cultivated exclusively for wine production. While each type of grape contains insignificant differences in nutrient content, all grapes can support superior health among those who consume them frequently, so what are you waiting for?
Grapes consist of approximately 70-80% water and about 20-30% sugars like glucose and fructose. Other nutrients consist of gallic acid, glucosides, phosphoric acid, manganese, iron, several vitamins, calcium and even folic acid. The countless nutrients and enzymes found in grapes are a sign that they are laden with health benefits and should be part of your every day diet.
Grapes Protect Against Heart Disease
Heart disease is a life menacing illness and is the number one cause of death of Americans these days. This illness occurs when fatty deposits called plaque build up on the artery walls. When this condition is left to fester it will obstruct the vessels which carry blood to the heart or brain leading to heart attacks and strokes. Just about 20 years ago, doctors and scientists noticed that the French people were less likely to be affected by heart problems than nearly all people in other parts of the world, even though they consume a high fat diet. They attributed this to the fact that it’s common in France to drink a glass of red wine with a serving of food. Numerous studies were conducted thereafter suggesting that consuming grapes or red wine can diminish the risks of developing heart disease over time. This occurs due to the ability of grape juice and wine to keep fatty food products from obstructing the arteries of the heart. The antioxidants in grapes known as polyphenols are victorious at keeping cholesterol from building up in the arteries and blocking them. Predominantly, resveratrol is what keeps the artery walls from being tormented by this damage. In addition, Grapes will increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood which prevents blood clots, and reduces heart attacks. Another nutrient present in grapes called pterostilbene helps lessen the triglycerides and cholesterol by increasing the capability of other enzymes to trim down fat levels in the blood.
Additional compounds called saponins found in grapes stick to cholesterol and prevent it from being absorbed by the body. Another important antioxidant worth mentioning is alpha tocopherol also known as vitamin E. When alpha tocopherol is present in the body, it increases the activity of the other antioxidants in the blood making grapes a vital factor in you would like to prevent or reduce the risks heart disease.
Grapes Help Reduce Cancer Risks
Caffeic acid is a material shown to fight cancer and is found in high amounts in grapes. Bioflavonoids also found in grapes help vitamin C get immersed into the body more efficiently and assist the vitamin C to attach healthy tissues. These bioflavonoids have the ability to strengthen cells that are fighting cancer or helps destroy cells that are already cancerous. The resveratrol contained in grapes works to thwart such cancers as prostate, lung, breast and liver.
Grapes Are Anti Aging
The resveratrol in grapes not only helps battle against heart disease and cancer but also facilitates the fight against the effects of aging. This antioxidant seems to have optimistic effects on the genes that influence aging because it restricts caloric intake which has been linked to living longer in lab animals and people. DNA becomes more secure when enzymes that slow the aging process are activated, hence adding years to your life. Flavonoids, another powerful antioxidant can also delay aging by reducing damage from free radicals.
Grapes Protect Against Viruses
Grapes contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, specifically a high concentration of tannin, another polyphenol which helps fight viruses and protects against infections.
A Great Source of Vitamins, Minerals, Fiber and Proteins
Grapes are full of vitamins A, C, B6 and Folate. Minerals such as phosphorus , potassium, iron, calcium, selenium and magnesium can also be found in grapes as well as fiber and proteins. All of these attribute to the healthy lifestyle you need.
Adding Grapes To Your Diet
Just eat them plain or make a grape banana and pineapple smoothie.
Make a fruit salad with your favorite fruit and several varieties of grapes
Make Chicken salad with grapes using coked diced chicken, chopped celery, seedless grapes, chopped walnuts, minced onion, salt, and Worcestershire sauce and a bit of miracle whip. Then combine all ingredients and serve with crackers, chips, rolls, bread or bagel.
Try making spicy chicken and grape skewers. Spice the chicken using olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, coriander, salt chopped mint leaves and seedless green grapes. Combine the ingredients and coat the chicken. Thread the a few chunks of chicken on to the skewer then a few grapes and so on. Grill and enjoy!