Discover the remarkable anti-aging benefits of grapes
There is something undeniably festive about grapes, which have been depicted throughout history in paintings, songs, and legends as luxurious indulgences to be served to rulers, nobles, and mythic heroes.
Of course, when it comes to enjoying these succulent little globes, it’s no longer necessary to be rich or powerful. Red and purple grapes still offer “royal” gifts to overall health and metabolism. (One benefit, in particular, may surprise you).
Protect heart and metabolic health with antioxidant-rich grapes
Grapes - red and purple varieties in particular - are a great source of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, quercetin, and resveratrol. These polyphenols help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation that can trigger heart disease. Grapes are also low in sodium and high in potassium - a beneficial combination that supports healthy blood pressure. In addition, they contain healthy amounts of dietary fiber, which helps clear harmful cholesterol from the bloodstream and into the liver, where it can be processed.
In a study published in Food and Function, people with high cholesterol ate three cups of red grapes a day for three weeks - and lowered their LDL cholesterol. (Meanwhile, their levels of healthy HDL cholesterol remained unchanged). Another group of participants who were given white grapes experienced smaller reductions in LDL. However, both grape groups experienced better antioxidant status. The scientists concluded that red grapes were an “excellent fruit choice” for lowering cholesterol and preventing oxidative stress-related metabolic disorders.
Grapes promote healthy weight and blood sugar levels
Despite their rich, sweet, decadent taste, grapes have a surprisingly low glycemic index. They can support healthy blood sugar levels and aren’t likely to cause undesirable after-meal “spikes.” Grapes can also increase insulin sensitivity, making your body more efficient at using insulin and regulating blood sugar.
In addition, their dietary fiber makes them a filling snack that may help ward off binge eating and support weight loss. Finally, grapes are extremely liquid-rich, meaning that they can help you stay hydrated. At a reasonable 100 calories per cup, grapes offer fantastic nutrition (such as ample amounts of immune system-boosting vitamin C and bone-building vitamin K, plus calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese) at a modest caloric cost. Who can ask for more than that?
Can grapes help you live longer?
Probably the biggest news about grapes comes from recent research showing that their resveratrol activates a gene known as SirT1, which has been linked in multiple studies with increasing longevity. And an extensive 2020 overview published in Frontiers in Pharmacology credits resveratrol in grapes with increasing the activity of sirtuin, a related enzyme that regulates insulin sensitivity, DNA repair, mitochondrial function, oxidative stress response and biogenesis (the creation of new cell membranes). By protecting these vital functions, resveratrol can help discourage the development of degenerative diseases, such as diabetes and cancer. So, while more study is needed, it appears that resveratrol from grapes may potentially prolong human life.
Enjoy red or purple grapes in salads and smoothies
One important note: Because of their size and shape, many safety experts say that whole grapes should not be given to children under four. For small children - or anybody with difficulties chewing and swallowing - grapes should be cut in half lengthwise, then quartered.
Slice grapes and serve them on top of yogurt or cereal, or combine them with chopped walnuts and add to salads for a sweet and savory accent. You can also juice them or blend fresh or frozen grapes with strawberries, bananas, and Greek yogurt for a flavorful smoothie. Grapes make an ideal evening snack, containing melatonin, the “sleep hormone.” They are also believed to be a “cooling” food, making them a perfect hot-weather treat.
Pro tip: The darker-colored the grapes, the more anthocyanins they contain. When possible, opt for red or purple Concord grapes over green or white varieties. Grapes should be eaten unpeeled, as much of their quercetin and resveratrol is in their skins.
Clearly, grapes make an excellent addition to your healthy daily diet.
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