Food

Just Out: Scientific Study Finds a ‘New’ Super Antioxidant in Red Grapes

I weigh over 60 lbs less than I did in 2002 and one of the reasons is grapes.

My doctor and nutritionist recommended fruits like grapes as part of a weight management program. The water and fiber content of grapes make them a filling food.

“To get the maximum value from fruits, eat the whole fruit instead of just drinking the juice,” the nutritionist said.  

Grapes contain powerful antioxidants that provide substantial defense against specific kinds of cancer, heart problem, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, and many other persistent and degenerative diseases.

A new study, released April 9 by researchers at Creighton University in Omaha, indicate that a compound extracted from the seeds of red grapes called Activin is the substance that is “extremely” antioxidant.

Activin appears to reduce the effects of and inhibiting the damage triggered by free radicals in the brains and livers of mice.

”Our research studies show that Activin is a more powerful antioxidant than vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene– approximately 7 times more potent,” Dr. Debasis Bagchi, chief scientist said.

He reported the findings of their research study at the Speculative Biology conference in New Orleans.

“Activin is a powerful inhibitor of complimentary radical-caused lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation,” Bagchi explained. “This is considerable because complimentary radicals can destroy cell membranes and damage DNA, and might be a root cause of specific types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even the aging process itself.”


Health Benefits

The ingredient in red wine that generates the most excitement is resveratrol, an antioxidant.

Researchers first recommended drinking red wine for its resveratrol content, but now believe that table grapes and grape juice are good sources, too. Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine, due to a longer fermentation process.

Resveratrol isn’t the only reason to eat red grapes, though. The list of benefits is impressive: 

Cardiovascular Health

Grapes, grape juice, and wine contain antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system. These antioxidants, sometimes called flavonoids or polyphenols, can relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation. They also reduce the clotting function of platelets much as aspirin does. These antioxidants reside mainly in the skin and seeds of grapes. 

Diabetes Control 

Some people with diabetes believe that they should not eat fruit because of its sugar content. Fruits with a low glycemic index, however, are fine for those with diabetes. A low glycemic index means that the sugar in the fruit will not immediately raise blood sugar. Another number helpful to people with diabetes is glycemic load. This number takes into account how much sugar is in an average serving. 

The glycemic index and a glycemic load of grapes is moderately low. The many antioxidants in grapes mean that they are valuable foods, even for people with diabetes. 

Anti-aging antioxidants

Grapes contain several different antioxidants, including types known to decrease inflammation and support healthy blood flow.

Grape antioxidants are also linked to better brain function (including memory and leaning), anti-aging, and overall longevity. The quercetin in black and red grapes has been shown to protect against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Quercetin has also been linked to apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to kill off worn out or dysfunctional cells.

Healthy vision

The lutein and zeaxanthin in grapes protect the retina and eye lens. They’ve been shown to increase visual range; lessen discomfort from glare; enhance visual contrast; and reduce the time it takes the eyes to recover from the stress of bright lights. The dynamic duo also helps lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders.

Nutrition

Once cup of grapes provides about a quarter of your daily vitamin C needs, nearly 20% for vitamin K, and at least 10% for copper. In addition to supporting immunity, vitamin C is needed for DNA repair, and the production of both collagen and serotonin. (The latter promotes happiness and sleep.)

Grapes also contain small amounts of these nutrients: 

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Calcium

Iron


Nutrients per Serving

A half-cup serving of grapes contains:

Calories: 52

Protein: 1 gram

Fat: 0 grams

Carbohydrates 14 grams

Fiber: 1 gram

Sugar: 12 grams

How to Use Red Grapes

I enjoy eating grapes plain, but over the years have found that they add flavor and nutrition to many dishes, and red grapes provide a pop of color, too. 

Liven up a chicken salad with red grapes, walnuts, and celery

Use red grapes in almost any fruit salad

Top a green salad with red grapes, and add almonds for crunch and mint for flavor

Add red grapes and other fruit to yogurt

Pair red grapes with a mild cheese like Edam or gouda

Add red grapes to your breakfast smoothie.

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