Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Healing Food of the Week: Grapes

Grapes are usually eaten raw and freezing them tastes great too!  They are also used for many other foods and drinks including: wine, jam, jelly, juice, raisins, vinegar, grape seed extract, and grape seed oil.  There are red (purple), white (green), and black (dark purple) grapes.  The harvest season for grapes in Michigan is August-Sept, August-October in North Carolina.  So, right now we are enjoying them!  

Grapes and Raisins
Grapes have many benefits.  They are a great low calorie snack with only 62 calories per 1 cup.  Vitamin K in grapes has an anticoagulant effect. Grapes provide energy from natural sugars and help for your GI tract with fiber, especially when eaten as raisins.  Raisins are also a good source of iron, magnesium, and vitamin B-6.  The downside to raisins is the concentration of sugar (98g/cup), even if it is natural!  The most well known benefit of grapes is the antioxidants.  Antioxidants help your cells to function well and protect against heart disease and cancer. Anything made from grapes has antioxidants.

Wine is good for you but only in moderation, or not at all depending on your risk factors.  Wine's antioxidants can be beneficial to your health but can also hurt it by raising your blood pressure, according to Mayo Clinic.  Too much wine can increase your breast cancer risk, among other risks.  See links below for more information.  
Benefits: Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?
Risks: BreastCancer.org: Drinking Alcohol
5 Negative Health Risks of Drinking Too Much Wine

The Dirty Dozen
Grapes are one of the top 12 fruits and vegetables to be covered in pesticides.  They are actually #5 on the Environmental Working Group's list for 2013. Take a look at their article about organic vs conventional fruits and vegetables: Shopper's Guide to the Dirty Dozen.  I really like their statement that fruits and vegetables have such a high nutritional value that it cancels out the downside of pesticides.  Basically, don't let the fact that you can't afford to buy organic foods get you down.  At least you are eating whole foods! But, if you want to try to eat organic, start with the "dirty dozen".

Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial

Grape Seed Extract has antibacterial properties and is used as a natural disinfectant.  The skin of grapes has an anti-fungal property.


USDA Agricultural Research Service
United States Department of Agriculture

About.com Local Foods


1 comment:

  1. Does anyone have any tasty grape recipes they want to share?