Monday, November 22, 2010

Fruit of the Week: Grapes


The grape is one of the oldest fruits to be cultivated going back as far as biblical times. Some of the most popular ways in which the fruit is used, is eaten fresh, in preserves or canned in jellies, dried into raisins, and crushed for juice or wine. Although, Grapes are about 80 percent water, making them a delectable low-calorie snack or dessert; a cup of Concord or Catawba grapes contains only about 60 calories Grapes also add fiber to the diet and are naturally low in sodium. Raisins, or dried grapes, contain only about 15 percent water. For this reason, nutrients and calories are more concentrated in raisins-one cup contains 464 calories! Like other dried fruit, raisins are a good source of iron.

Selecting Grapes: Look for firm, plump, well-colored clusters of grapes that are securely attached to their green stems. Fully ripe grapes are soft and tender. Grapes showing signs of decay, shriveling, stickiness, brown spots or dry brittle stems should be avoided.

Health Benefits
Grapes are very high in Vitamin A, C and B6. But that’s not all, grapes are also good source of folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron. As you know these are extremely important for a good health. Grapes appear to confer several specific benefits, following are some the most important health benefits of grapes:
- Good For Heart: Red grapes are very good for the heart. Red grapes juice reduces plasma concentrations of oxidized LDL cholesterol, this results the reduction in cardiovascular disease risk. Grapes also increase the nitric oxide level in the blood which is responsible for preventing blood clots and thus reduces the chances of heart attack.
- Cancer: Grapes contain high amount of caffeic acid, a cancer fighting substance and bioflavonoid. Bioflavonoids are good for the body as the provide strength to our cells in the battle with cancerous cells. Bioflavonoids also kill the cancer cells.
- Alzheimer’s Disease: Resveratrol (an effective antioxidant) is classified as a polyphenol, that presents in the grapes reduces the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Hypertension: Products made from the grapes such as wine is good for heart. Research showed that a glass of wine with evening meal is good to control hypertension.
- Lung Health: Grapes are good for the lung health. Study showed a glass of red wine daily (not white), reduces the chance of lung cancer.
- Asthma: Assimilatory power of grapes is higher and increases the moisture present in lungs. Also, research showed that grapes can be used to cure asthma because of its eminent therapeutic value
- Cataract: Apart from other health benefits that described above, grapes are good for reducing the chances of cataract. Flavanoids presents in the grapes fight the damage caused by free radicals such as cataract.
- Anti-Aging: Another benefit of Resveratrol that it influences the genes controlling the aging process.
- Migraine: Ripe grape juice without mixing water is very good for curing migraine. Remember it should be taken early in the morning.
- Breast Cancer: Red grapes with seeds are good for preventing breast cancer. How? In breast cancer, an enzyme called aromatase, which converts other hormone substrates into estrogens, is present in greater amounts. Grape skins and seeds contain compounds called procyanidin B dimmers that suppress aromatase.

Health benefits of grapes and grapes juice are immense. If you want to drink grape juice then do dot any extra sugar.

Sources: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, http://healthmad.com

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