According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans you should include several servings of fruit into your daily diet.
When it comes to fruit choice for your daily menu, you can be assured that grapes are healthy fruit choices. They also contain several of the vitamins that the mentioned Guidelines indicate, and which are on the list of vitamins under-consumed by many Americans.
Although all grapes are nutritiously-dense and are quick sources of energy, it is the purple varieties of grapes [their purple color varies from reddish-purple, true purple to purple-black] that are superiorly rich in natural phytochemicals that can help reduce your risk of several chronic diseases, including cancerous ones.
Which Grapes Are Best For You?
All types of grapes are healthy, yet purple grapes provide additional health benefits.
Purple and white grapes are both precious sources of carbohydrate, primarily of the type fructose, which is an easily broken-down, simple sugar. One full cup of grapes will provide you with about 23 grams of simple sugar, fortified with a small amount of protein and trace fat.
Grapes also contain several important minerals, notably potassium, calcium, phosphorus, as well as small amounts of magnesium, iron and zinc. They also provide vitamins C, A and K, and several B-group vitamins, including: folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B6.
Finally, grapes are a good source of dietary fiber, with more than 1 gram of dietary fiber in each eaten cup. There is no doubt that, when you consume a fiber-rich food, it helps keep your regular bowel movements (stools) by adding bulk to your food for excretion and making your stools soft. It can also reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes type 2.
Purple grapes are a distinctive type since their skins contain a polyphenolic compound called resveratrol. This compound has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center states, which also reports that consuming resveratrol passes over into many health benefits, including protection against heart disease.
The resveratrol reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, often called bad cholesterol. And one should be aware that LDL oxidation contributes to formation of plaque (or fatty deposits) in your arteries that are the common cause of cardiovascular disturbances.
The resveratrol may also block the formation of blood clots, lowering the likelihood of stroke. In addition, in the research study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, human participants who consumed resveratrol had increased blood flow to their brains, suggesting that the compound might also improve brain function, although more studies are needed to confirm this conclusion.
The quercetin is a type of plant-pigment called a flavonoid, which is accountable [along with the above-written resveratrol] for the beautiful purple color of this variety of grapes. This flavonoid is a potent antioxidant that stabilizes and removes free radicals.
These substances are natural by-products of metabolism and also result from breakdown of environmental toxins such as heavy cigarette smoke and organic solvents. Free radicals can cause damage to your cells by disrupting their membranes and DNA chains.
Over time, free radicals can speed aging and raise your risk of cancer. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the quercetin in purple grapes reduces the rate of cancer cell growth, at least in the laboratory examinations and results.
It also says that this plant-based pigment might lessen allergies and asthma, reduce high blood pressure, and the symptoms of acute rheumatoid arthritis, although more research with human subjects is necessary to confirm these effects in the majority of patients.
In addition, according to the above-stated dietary guidelines, if you are an adult who takes in 2,000 calories per day, you should consume somewhere near 2 cups of fruit daily. As part of this dietary and remedial strategy, you are advised to choose whole grapes to benefit from their fiber and consume them regularly, either as part of a meal or for a quick snack, mixing them with other fruit for variety.
Dr. Martha Grogan writes on MayoClinic.com that organic purple grape juice also contains resveratrol and other antioxidant compounds. However, in order to obtain the greatest benefit from grape juice, regularly check food labels and choose products that contain at least 60% solid grape matter.
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Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Resveratrol
National Nutrient Database: Grapes, Red or Green
University of Maryland Medical Center: Quercetin
Linus Pauling Institute: Resveratrol
MayoClinic.com: Does Grape Juice Offer the Same Heart Benefits as Red Wine?
U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
PubMed.gov: Journal of Clinical Nutrition — Effects of Resveratrol on Cerebral Blood Flow Variables and Cognitive Performance in Humans