As humans, we consume many fruits and one of which is the vitis vinifera or in simpler terms, the grape. I like to call the grape a special fruit because in many ways, we consume it and it possesses numerous health benefits whether known or unknown to us.
Grapes can be eaten raw or used in the production of wine, jam, juice, jelly, vinegar, and many more. This indeed makes the fruit special. They are a non-climacteric type of fruit, generally occurring in clusters of 15 to 300 and can be crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. “White” grapes are actually green in colour, and are evolutionally derived from the purple grape.
Grapes are high in water content and are therefore good for hydration. They are nutrient dense because they provide a large amount of essential nutrients while containing few calories.
Grapes contain antioxidants important for eye health such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Red grapes also contain phytochemical resveratrol in their skins.
Grapes have contained in them flavonoids myricetin and quercetin which help the body to counter-act harmful free radical formation.
Having stated earlier that the grape fruit has numerous benefits, a few would be highlighted here, and they include:
Heart disease. The Grape has flavonoid quercetin which is a natural anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against damages caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
In one word, regular consumption of grapes helps in reducing the occurrence of heart diseases.
Cancer – Grapes have in them powerful antioxidants (polyphenols) which may slow or even prevent various types of cancer including lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostrate, esophageal and colon.
High Blood Pressure – Grapes are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body. This is because of the high potassium content in grapes.
Constipation – High in water content foods such as grapes, can help keep the body hydrated and help maintain regular bowel movements.
Allergies – Consuming grapes may help to alleviate symptoms of allergies including runny nose, watery eyes, and hives. This is due to the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin.
Diabetes – Consumption of 3servings per week of grapes, blueberries, raisins, apples or pears may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults.
Acne – Grapes can be an effective treatment for acne, if used with an already existing medication for the disorder. The resveratrol found in red grapes and red wine is responsible for this.
Also, the nutrients in the grape help to protect the body from radiation.
Risks Associated with Grapes
Too much of everything as we all know, is not good. Because grapes are used in the production of red wine, and red wine helps in reducing the risks associated heart diseases doesn’t mean one should become an alcoholic. Two drinks per day is advised for men and one per day is advised for women.
Consumption of excess potassium can be harmful to those who do not have kidneys functioning fully. It could be fatal if your kidneys are unable to remove excess potassium from the blood.
Another risk associated with grape consumption is the fact that it may not be produced in a good environment. Many factors in the environment may contaminate the grape such as residues of pesticides. This toxins can cause damage to the liver.
Grapes may interfere with certain medications in the body thereby rendering the drug ineffective. Such medications include warfarin and phenacetin.