Grapes stand out in the fruit world for their incredible health benefits. High in vitamin C, K and antioxidants and bursting with anti-cancer agents, these juicy beauties belong in every kitchen. Commonly arranged into three classes: dark, red, and green grapes, each offers extraordinary advantages to skin, hair and oxidative stress.
A Berry by Another Name
Grapes are actually ‘berries’ that have a semi-strong, translucent tissue inside them. The most well-known utilization of grapes everywhere in the world is in wine-making. Aside from being savored as a simple and natural snack, various cooking techniques yield sauces, jams, compotes, fillings and treats. And not to be overlooked: WINE!
Jam-packed with antioxidants and myriad other phytonutrients, keep in mind that the grapes you find in the grocery store don’t always contain the magic that wine, and even juice provide. Wine and grape juice contain substances leached from seeds, which are crushed during the pressing process. However, grapes offer a small amount of fiber, something neither wine nor grape juice deliver. In the case of wine vs juice, choose wine. The fermentation process involved in making wine changes the makeup of the juice (1).
1. Stacked with Antioxidants
Grapes are powerhouse cancer prevention agents. They contain a broad scope of phytonutrients, from carotenoids to polyphenols. Studies prove that these phytonutrients help protect against cancer by reducing inflammation. They act as an antioxidant, blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells (1). Resveratrol is responsible for hindering the development of free radicals that lead to disease, and expanding veins to ease blood flow and lower circulatory strain. The most protective agents come from the seeds and skin, so be sure to eat them up!
2. High Source of Potassium
One cup of organic grapes contains 288 mg of potassium, which maintains healthy potassium levels. Compounds found in grapes may protect against high cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption (2).
Proanthocyanidins and resveratrol in grapes protect against harmful rays from the sun. Vitamin C provides restoration of skin cells. Dark grapes expand the versatility of the skin and improve blood dissemination, promoting supple, shining skin. The antioxidants in grapes and seeds are 50% more powerful than Vitamin E and 20% more powerful than Vitamin C.
Resveratrol protects retinal cells in the human eye from ultraviolet A light. This is great news for those facing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disease (3). They are thought to neutralize unstable molecules (AKA free radicals). Reducing oxidative stress halts damage to the retina, preventing cataracts and other conditions (4). Studies have shown that three servings of grapes a day can reduce the risks of macular degeneration by over 36%.
Quercetin and resveratrol may reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, according to animal studies (5). Atherosclerosis is a type of heart disease resulting in the buildup of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol -also called bad cholesterol. The polyphenols in grapes help protect you from heart disease by suppressing the process of atherosclerosis.
6. Bone Health
Red wine has high levels of silicon, which positively affects bone mineral density. It reduces the chance of osteoporosis (6). Grapes contain micro-nutrients like copper, iron, and manganese, all of which are important in the formation and strength of the bones.
Resveratrol increases the expression of three genes all related to longevity. (SirT1s, Fox0s, and PBEFs.) Interestingly, there’s parallel between activation of these longevity genes by resveratrol and by calorie-restricted diets (7).
8. Brain Health
Resveretrol boosts cognition. Studies on Alzheimer’s patients shows improved memory after administering grape therapy for 26 weeks. This is promising for age-related memory decline.
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