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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Good Of Grapes

It’s mid-week today and I realized I had not been eating too healthily for the week. So let’s talk health-eating today. How about grapes? I love grapes, especially the red crunchy ones. I did not realize how great these little wonders were until I read about them in an article at RealAge.com.

Grapes contain great nutrients

Besides the very common knowledge that grapes are good source of antioxidant, they also contain 2 particularly effective chemicals - pterostilbene and resveratrol. They are phenolic compounds found mainly in grape skins (so remember to eat grapes with their skin!). These 2 chemicals that work as a cleanup crew, mopping up nasty free radicals in your body so they're less likely to cause problems such as heart disease and cancer.


From Wikipedia – “Pterostilbene is a stilbenoid chemically related to resveratrol. It is thought to be the key compound found predominantly in blueberries as well as grapes) that exhibit anti-cancer, anti-hypercholesterolemia, anti-hypertriglyceridemia properties, as well as fight off and reverse cognitive decline. It is believed that the compound also has anti-diabetic properties, but so far very little has been studied on this issue. Additionally, it is also touted as a potent anti-fungal”

Also, the resveratrol in grapes has heart-protective properties, regardless of its effect on cancer. Grapes also have anthocyanins, which attack disease-fostering inflammation, and vitamin C.

Grape juice as a wine substitute

We all know that having extra antioxidant in our blood is good for us. They help guard our cells against the free-radical damage that could increase the occurrence of diseases. Wine, derived from bountiful of grapes, is touted to provide such heart-healthy benefits.

However, to avoid getting tipsy from wine but still derive all the wonderful benefits, grape juice is a great substitute. Research shows that our blood will get two important benefits from the juice - more antioxidants circulating in it and more stable bad LDL cholesterol causing less trouble in our body.

The catch is that grape juice has fewer antioxidants than wine, so we may need to drink more to get the same benefit. But do remember to sip real juice, not fruit-flavored drinks, as the latter is only glorified sugar syrup – you want more nutrients and less sugar. Remember to watch the intake as too much grape juice can also tip the calorie counter!

Otherwise, do something special – like a grape dish. RealAge has this fantastic recipe for Chicken Cutlets with Grape-Shallot Sauce.

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