Grapes, one of nature’s portable snacks

 

Grapes, thanks to wine, have been intertwined with human history for thousands of years, with their bounty celebrated by Gods, Emperors, Kings, Priests, Philosophers as well as the general public. To this day grapes are used mostly to make wine, with raisins and table grapes following up behind.

The idea of eating grapes is thought to be more recent, with it being traced back to King Francis I of France, a contemporary of King Henry VIII of England. Francis had a fondness for the Chasselas grape as dessert, setting a trend for the court and establishing a natural ready packaged sweet treat.

A natural sweet snack

All grapes in their variety of colours are one of nature’s many clever portable snacks; sweet to taste and high in water content and nutrients. Nutritionally they are considered a berry fruit – such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, with it recommended that berries should be consumed at least 3-4 times a week, if not every day. Loaded with nutrients that aid the body to function correctly, their high levels of antioxidants make them a boon to health.

Grapes have gathered much attention in health research because of their composition. This ranges from the many health-supportive phytonutrients they provide, from resveratrol to melatonin, an antioxidant that has anti-bacterial properties.

In past studies grapes have been associated with aiding cardiovascular health, the immune system and nervous system, whilst they have also shown benefits in cancer prevention.

Marvellous Muscadines

Muscadine grapes are extra special, with a higher nutritional value than other grapes. As most of the health benefits come from the skin and seeds, these little snackable treats are ready made to deliver all their goodness.

Muscadine grapes -the snack that can:

  • help maintain a healthy body inside and out
  • satisfy sweet cravings
  • provide soluble fibre to help you feel fuller longer
  • top up antioxidants

Antioxidants can influence in how rapidly and how well we age, with the body using them to battle free radicals, while some cancers have been linked to diets low in antioxidants. It is estimated that by the age 40 our antioxidant levels are at 50%, whilst by the time we reach 60 they have dropped to 10%. So, topping them up is a good idea, and as this native fruit of North America contains the antioxidants resveratrol, quercetin, ellagic acid, genistein as well as several others, what’s not to like? Indeed, according to the Mississippi State University, muscadine grape seeds contain higher levels of antioxidants than blueberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries and raspberries. Meanwhile a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that muscadines are a particularly good source of ellagic acid, which appears to inhibit cancer cell reproduction, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. And according to the Harvard School of Public Heath, eating a diet based on whole, antioxidant-rich foods has been shown to help reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.

So, don’t be afraid to make grapes an in-between meal snack. High in water content and therefore good for hydration, high-water content fruits and vegetables are also nutrient dense. But be sure to eat grapes fresh rather than in jellies or juice, as these will usually have added sugar – and there is more than enough sugar in the fresh ones. If possible, buy organic grapes to ensure lower risk of pesticide exposure.

Perfect for adding to a fruit or chicken salad, as an added tweak why not freeze some grapes – makes for a great snack on a hot summers day.

 

Some other excellent antioxidant food sources:

 

Vegetables: Brussel sprouts, spinach, cabbage, chilli, kale, peppers

Fruits: berries, grapes, orange, pineapple, pomegranate

Nuts: almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, dates

Grains: oats, barley

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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