Superfood of the Week: Grapes

Ingredients | | October 19, 2009 at 7:36 am

Photo by Smleon.

The Greeks knew it: grapes are the food of the gods. They even named a god, Dionysus, after this ambrosial fruit. Perhaps the Greeks knew what scientists and researchers are just discovering today:

Grapes are loaded with flavonoids, including the powerful compounds quercetin, resveratrol, and anthocyanin. These flavonoids are powerful antioxidants that give grapes and other  colorful fruits and veggies their lovely purple color. White grapes also have beneficial properties, but red grapes have a much higher content of antioxidants.

Grapes are also great  sources of:

If the delicious crunch of tart grapes isn’t enough, here are some more reasons to pop a grape or two next time you have a sweet tooth!

Lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack and strokes

  • Flavonoids decrease platelet aggregation and enhance nitric oxide release, which prevents blood clots
  • Resveratrol has been shown to protect against arterial wall damage by decreasing oxidation of LDL cholesterol that blocks and damages the arteries
  • Resveratrol helps to prevent hypertension by inhibiting the release of endothelin 1, a potent blood vessel constrictor.
  • The flavonoids and vitamin C in grapes help to strengthen connective tissue, preventing the rupture or leakage of blood vessels and capillaries

Lower your risk for cancer, especially colorectal and breast cancer

  • Resveratrol has been shown to decrease tumor activity by inhibiting cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1), an enzyme that converts arachidonic acid that stimulate tumor-cell growth
  • Anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins in grapes appear to inhibit cancer proliferation by working together to suppress the growth of the enzyme topoisomerase II,  which is necessary for the spread of cancer cells

Lower your risk for alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases

  • Studies suggest that resveratrol lowers levels of amyloid-beta peptides which are found in the plaques that are present in the brains of patients with alzheimer’s disease

It’s always best to buy organic to reduce carcinogenic effects, toxic load on your liver and the environment. It is even more important to choose organic  when it comes to the “Dirty Dozen”, the top 12 foods with the highest level of pesticide residue.  If you can’t buy organic, always by grapes grown in the US, as imported grapes are among the top 12  with the most pesticide residue.

NishantDr. Nishant Rao is a co-founder of He is a well-traveled naturopathic doctor and new father, practicing an integrative approach to create wellness in and around Los Angeles. Become a patient or discover his practice.

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  1. Sandie Lee says:

    Thanks for the great info :)