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Grapes

A grape is a refreshing fruit used both as in between snack fruit and in salads. It has juicy, sweet and dry tart flavor. European varieties are readily available in the markets whole round the year; however American varieties of fresh grapes are seen in September and October. Depending on the type and variety some grapes can be seedless while others may have seeds. Grapes can be classified according to its use as table grapes – used to eat or used in recipes, opposed grapes – used to make red wine and raisin grapes – commonly used for making dried fruit.
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Health and grapes

  1. Flavonoids are the phytonutrient compounds in grapes that give them a strong purple shade. More vibrant the color a grape, higher is the percentage of flavonoids. Quercitin and resveratrol are the two flavonoid compounds which are believed to decrease the risk of cardiovascular diseases. These compounds help people with heart disease, by decreasing the formation of blood clots in the arteries and platelet clumping. They also prevent oxidation of LDL cholesterol which is the main initiating factor for damaged and hardened arteries.  
  2. Smoking when coupled with and other lifestyle habits like low fiber intake and diets that are high in trans fats and saturated fats are an major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. Compounds present in grapes and grape products offers protection for a healthy heart.
  3. With consumption of grape juice nitric oxide levels in body are increased which helps to decrease the formation of blood clots and platelet aggregation by the RBC in the blood vessels. Grape skin is rich in phenolic compounds that help inhibit a group of enzymes called protein tyrosine kinases which maintains cell regulation and also hinders constriction of blood vessels thereby reducing the blood flow to the heart.
  4. In response to hypertension and heart failure angiotensin II, a hormone is secreted. Resveratrol helps to inhibit angiotensin II and also controls excessive production of collagen thereby improving the hearts ability to pump blood to all parts of the body.
  5. Saponins – glucose based compounds present below the skin of grapes also promises heart health. These phytonutrients are believed to bind with cholesterol and prevent its absorption. They help to curb inflammatory pathways and protect against heart disease and cancer. Red wine is a significant source of saponins as it contributes to more than half of the requirement for daily saponins (daily saponin intake has been estimated at 15 mg).
  6. Pterostilbene a powerful antioxidant work along with resveratrol and saponins to lower cholesterol. Grapes provide many cardio protective benefits of red wine; it helps to combat hypertension, protects post menopausal women from coronary artery diseases, protects against lung cancer, lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease, acts as an anti-aging agent, enhances women’s health and promotes optimal health of an individual.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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