Botanical name: Vitis
One of the popular among everyday fruits, grapes are widely viewed in many cultures as “the queen of fruits" since earlier times. These tiny berries of Europe and Mediterranean regions are the storehouse of numerous health promoting phyto-nutrients such as poly-phenolic antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. No wonder why so many of us often include them in our diet, be it in the form of fresh table fruits, dry fruits, juice, or simply in salads!
Health benefits of grapes
Grapes are rich in polyphenolic phytochemical compound resveratrol. Resveratrol is one of the powerful anti-oxidant which has been found to play a protective role against cancers of colon and prostate, coronary heart disease (CHD), degenerative nerve disease, Alzheimer's disease and viral/ fungal infections.
Resveratrolreduces stroke risk by altering the molecular mechanisms inside the blood vessels. It does so, firstly by reducing the susceptibility of blood vessel through decreased activity of angiotensin (a systemic hormone causing blood vessel constriction that would otherwise elevate blood pressure) and secondly, through increased production of vasodilator substance, nitric oxide (a beneficial compound that causes relaxation of blood vessels).
Anthocyanins are another class of polyphenolic anti-oxidants present abundantly in the red grapes. These phyto-chemicals have been found to have an anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, as well as anti-cancer activity.
Catechins, a type of flavonoid tannin group of anti-oxidants, found in the white/green varieties have also shown to possess these health-protective functions.
Grapes are rich source of micronutrient minerals like copper, iron and manganese. Copper and manganese are an essential co-factor of antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is especially concentrated in raisins. In addition, 100 g of fresh grapes contain about 191 mg of health benefiting electrolyte, potassium.
They are an also good source of vitamin-C, vitamin A, vitamin K, carotenes, B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, riboflavin, and thiamin.
In addition, the berries are very low in calories. 100 g fresh grapes just provide 69 calories but zero cholesterol levels