Grapes are berries that grow on woody vines and that are used to make juice, wine and vinegar. They contain polyphenols that have been shown by recent recent research to have many health benefits.
Health Benefits of Grapes and Wine
Grapes contain B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron and potassium. Grapes also contain polyphenols, which are antioxidants that have been shown by research to provide health benefits.
A significant amount of research indicates that moderate consumption of red wine (one glass a day for women and two glasses for men) can help inhibit cancer, heart disease, viral infections and several degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The most well-known polyphenol in wine is resveratrol. This substance is synthesized by many plants, and apparently has antifungal and other defensive properties. It is found in high amounts in the skins and seeds of grapes, primarily in muscadine grapes, and concentration in skins and seeds are about 100 times higher than in pulp.
Similarly to other berries like blueberries, purple grapes also contain anthocyanins, which are very powerful antioxidants known to help prevent cancer and other inflammatory diseases. They may also help improve memory and brain functions, lower blood sugar and reduce depression symptoms.
Red wine offers more health benefits than white wine because only red wine is fermented with skins, which contain the highest concentration of beneficial substances.
Note that grapes contain 15% sugar, and may not be the fruit of choice for people who have high blood sugar levels or need to lose weight.
Buying and Storing Grapes
Look for grapes that are even in color, plump and firmly attached to the stem. Green grapes should have a yellowish hue, and purple grapes should be a robust purple with no greenish tinge.
Organic grapes are a better option, as conventionally grown grapes are usually spread with lots of pesticides.
When buying red wine, look for wines that contain Pinot noir, as these are the ones that contain the highest amounts of resveratrol.
Don’t wash grapes after buying them. Store them in the refrigerator, in a glass container. They should last three to five days. They can also be kept at room temperature for a couple of days.
When you’re ready to eat your grapes, wash them carefully under cold water. If they are not organic, wash them very well, rubbing the skins with your fingers, and pat them dry.
You can juice them, add them to salads, or eat them together with cheese.
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