Grapes have long been studied for the medicinal and nutritional value. We can trace their use all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, who strongly believed in the medicinal powers of the tiny fruit. This article will outline all the ways grapes have been incorporated into our health and how they may be of benefit to you.
Both the Greeks and Egyptians used grapes as an ointment, while the leaves were used to staunch bleeding and pain. Green, unripe grapes were used for sore throats and raisins were used to treat conditions like cancer, cholera, kidney disease and liver disease, just to name a few. Though red grapes were consumed mostly in the form of red wine, grape seed supplements are another way to reap the benefits of resveratrol, an important compound in the fruit.
Grapes are historically native to Asia, but they were brought to Europe and the Americas long ago. They range in colour from green to purple and red, but we like to focus on red grapes for their resveratrol. During the red winemaking process, the skin of red grapes stays in the mixture longer than they would if making white wine. Because the resveratrol comes from the skin of the grape, more of the supplement is contained in red wine.
There are other foods that contain resveratrol, such as peanuts, cranberries and blackberries, but red grapes and red wine contain the most. Still, it would be difficult to consume enough red grapes or grape juice to achieve the sufficient amounts of Resveratrol to provide any heart-healthy benefits. The good news is, you can also find resveratrol in supplement form. This is especially useful for those who do not drink alcohol.
Grapes Raise HDL Cholesterol
According to researchers, drinking red wine in moderation can raise HDL cholesterol. This is the good cholesterol that can help stop artery damage. This is certainly not to say that non-drinkers should begin using alcohol just for possible heart health benefits, as there are other ways to achieve your means. Another study tested whether consuming grape seed extract, chromium, or a combination of both would be effective in lowering cholesterol. While it discovered that the combination may be more effective, there needs to be more research before that can be confirmed. Smokers are another story. In a recent study, grape seed extract was shown to lower LDL cholesterol levels in these smokers.
This is only the tip of the iceberg with resveratrol, or grape seed extract. There are so many ongoing studies going on about the antioxidant content of red wine and grape seed extract and how it would impact cancer, aging, edema, diabetes and infections. If you are suffering from any of these conditions, resveratrol could be the answer you’re looking for.
Using supplements in your daily diet is a personal decision, but you should always discuss your options with your healthcare provider first. You’re safety is paramount!