Grapes are among the healthiest fruits to eat for their anti-aging and heart protection functions. Grapes contain lots of fiber and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. Grape seeds are highly valuable for their content of essential fatty acids and vitamin E, which protect your skin, blood vessel and nerve cells from free radical attacks. Red and black colored grapes are especially acclaimed for their health values. The variations of color indicate different types and quantities of phyto-antioxidants on the grape skin.
Resveratrol, the Prize of Darker Grape Skin
All grapes are beneficial for your health, but what makes darker skinned grapes significantly more valuable is their content of resveratrol. Resveratrol is a natural anti-pathogenic compound found on the skin of dark skinned grapes and other fruits and vegetables with a reddish pigment. In grapes, those that are deeply purple or black in color contain the highest concentration of resveratrol and thus, darker colored grapes are your top choices for health preservation.
Resveratrol has been proven to have several health promoting benefits.
- Anti-aging: studies have shown that resveratrol has certain life extension properties and has been incorporated into anti-aging cosmetic formulas.
- Anti-inflammation: resveratrol is a powerful bactericide and fungicide. Oral intake or topical application of resveratrol can lower your risk of pathogenic infections and inflammations.
- Cancer prevention: resveratrol has shown the greatest effectiveness in treatment of skin and gastrointestinal cancers. It has also shown tumor suppressive effects in lung, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancers as well as leukemia.
- Blood sugar control: resveratrol activates the SIRT 1 gene which increases your insulin secretion and sensitivity.
- Blood pressure reduction: resveratrol inhibits the activity of the blood vessel constriction hormone angiotensin and increases the production of the vasodilator hormone nitric oxide. The combined action significantly increases your blood flow and reduces your blood pressure.
- Cholesterol reduction: dietary resveratrol modulates fat metabolism and reduces the amount of low density lipoproteins (LDL) and aggregation of platelets.
Resveratrol in Red Wine and Grape Juice
Eating red or black grapes is one great way of getting resveratrol, but you get the maximum concentration and benefit of this compound by drinking red wine. The fermentation process helps release resveratrol from the cell walls of the skin and seeds, multiplying its bioavailability by the hundreds. Muscadine grapes like Black Beauty are purple to black in color and have the highest resveratrol of all grape species. Wine made from these grapes is also elite in resveratrol content. Muscadine red wine contains as much as 40 mg of resveratrol per liter, nearly 8 times as much as its content in non-muscadine wine. Drinking 1 to 2 glasses of red wine everyday is strongly recommended if you have high risk of heart disease, breast cancer and diabetes.
Though not as high as in wine, red grape juice also contain much more resveratrol than fresh fruits. If you have impaired liver function or cannot drink alcohol, you can drink red grape juice instead.