Grapes are available in numerous colours from white to red, black green golden and purple. They are classified as a type of a berry with leather like cover and a moist flesh inside. Fresh grapes are approximately eighty per-cent water and low in calories, making them a good diet snack, while raisins (dried grapes) only have about fifteen per-cent water. This means the nutrients are much more densely packed in raisins which is why one cup has close to eight times more calories. Grapes are however high in sugars, hence people with diabetes need to proceed with caution, but this very fact makes them a good moderate addition to green smoothies.
Green Grape Smoothie
- 2 cups green grapes (may substitute other varieties)
- 1 whole banana
- 1 small handful of fresh Italian parsley
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or other leafy green)
- 1/2 cup water if needed
A one cup serving, roughly 32 – 35 grapes, provide approximately 100 calories in addition to protein, two per-cent of the daily recommended amount of fibre, two per-cent of the recommend amount of vitamin C, A, iron and calcium. They contain no sodium or saturated fats. They also supply eight per-cent of the daily recommended amount of potassium and carbohydrates.
The poly-phenolic pigments in grapes provide the colour. Dark coloured grapes like red or purple are richer in anti-oxidants anthocyanins while the lighter coloured on like white-green contain more tannins particularly catechin. Other antioxidants found in the berry include resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin. It is interesting to note that most of the antioxidants are found in the seeds and skin of the fruit. They also contain some important flavonoids like myricetin and quercetin.
Health Benefits of Grapes
The antioxidant resveratrol fond mostly in the skin of grapes, particularly in the red variety, is linked with slowing down of the aging process of the brain, heart, and other vital organs. At the cellular level it eliminates free radicals and protects healthy DNA. Research has also found that resveratrol may be beneficial for treating Alzheimer’s disease, providing relief from mood swings linked with menopause, and aiding in blood glucose control.
Being 60 to 70 percent water, grapes are a good hydrating food, and yield a mildly laxative influence on metabolism. The fiber in the fruit further aids in regulating bowel movements and eradicating constipation. The polyphenols are known to slow and even avert cancers of lung esophagus, mouth, prostate, pancreas and colon. The flavonoid quercetin in grapes are naturally anti-inflammatory and help in cutting down the risks of atherosclerosis and harm created by LDL cholesterol, additionally it too may offer anti-cancer benefits.