Grapes are delicious small oval fruits that grow in bunches on vines. Long revered by man, mythology shows that they symbolized abundance and fertility. They have a wide range of uses including making raisins, sultanas, currants, jelly, juice, and wine. Did you know that raisins are a type of grape that has been dried for around three weeks? Grapes come in a variety of colours ranging from pink and purple to green, red, black, and yellow. Here are some health benefits of consuming these highly nutritious fruits.
Grapes are highly nutritious with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper. The fruit has small amounts of B vitamins, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese.
Benefits of grapes
Rich in antioxidants
Grapes are rich in antioxidants which are a compound that protect the cells and help repair any damage that may have been caused to them in a process called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has been linked to a range of chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
The highest concentration of antioxidants is found in the skin and seeds and the red varieties of grapes have the highest levels of antioxidants. These antioxidants remain even after fermentation which explains red wine’s antioxidant content.
Vitamins C and A are both vital for immunity. Grapes also have natural anti-microbial properties which boost immunity by destroying and preventing the growth of microorganisms such as bacteria. Numerous compounds in them fight bacterial and viral infections and also may also protect against yeast infections.
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The powerful antioxidants in the grapes have anti-inflammatory properties that studies suggest may be able to slow or prevent the growth of cancer tumours in the lymph, liver, stomach, breast, colon, as well as skin cancer and leukaemia. Grapes are also a good food to eat when undergoing chemotherapy. Health: Foods That Are Beneficial For People Undergoing Chemotherapy
Grapes provide fibre and potassium both of which are beneficial in lowering blood pressure and thus supporting heart health. Antioxidants in them also benefit the cardiovascular system by protecting the heart from inflammation and oxidative damage. Research shows that they may also help protect against damage caused by LDL “bad” cholesterol.
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Grapes help soothe an irritated digestive tract and can when taken as a mono-meal help improve digestive function. The water and fibre content in them keep the body hydrated, the bowel movements regular and reduces the risk of constipation.
The natural melatonin in grapes is linked to a longer and better quality of sleep. This is important given that insomnia affects about a third of the population and sleep deprivation is tied to several health risks including depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
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Grapes have a low glycaemic index which means the body absorbs them slowly lowering the risk of sugar spikes after eating them. One study even found that they may even decrease blood sugar levels. Resveratrol in them has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity which may improve the body’s ability to use glucose thus lowering blood sugar levels.
Grapes contain antioxidants that can improve skin health and also have anti-ageing properties. The resveratrol in it could help treat acne especially if used with benzoyl peroxide as a topical treatment.
The vitamin K in grapes plays a role in the formation of strong bones and the proper clotting of blood. Blood Clots – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Natural Remedies
Studies suggest that flavonoids in grapes may benefit brain function and the central nervous system. They may help prevent neurodegenerative disease, improving memory function in older adults with mild memory decline. For this reason, it may be used as part of Alzheimer’s treatment.
Another study among young adults found that drinking grape juice improved both the speed of memory-related skills and mood.
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Grapes have properties that may protect against common eye disease. Resveratrol in them may help protect against macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic eye disease. Additionally, the antioxidants in them help protect the eyes from damage from blue light.
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Resveratrol in grapes may slow down ageing and lengthen the lifespan of a variety of animal species. It also stimulates a family of proteins that have been linked to longevity.
Grapes are easy to incorporate into the diet. They can be eaten as a snack, added to a salad, juiced, or made into a smoothie. For the most benefits, choose the redder varieties.
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