Black Grape And Their Many Health And Beauty Benefits
Delicious, juicy black grapes are simply irresistible when it comes to taste. And the best part is that these small berries are packed with an incredible amount of nutrients as well. That is why black grapes have been much in demand amongst Epicureans for more than 6,000 years when they were first cultivated in west Asia and parts of Europe. In fact, it is said that black grapes are the oldest cultivated fruit in the world. Black grapes were introduced in India way back in the 12th century by traders from Iran and Afghanistan. While black grapes (Vitis vinifera) are mostly used to make wine, they are also relished as a fruit and as a key ingredient in jams, sauces, preserves and compôte.
Black Grapes: Cultivation In India
Black grapes are an essential fruit crop for Indian farmers as it is very profitable. Hence, almost 79.6 thousand hectares are under grape cultivation in India with the major chunk being grown in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu. Black grapes in India are traditionally harvested by hand during February-April. Much of the black grape harvest is used to make red wine where the pulp of red or black grapes is fermented along with the skins so that the red pigmentation and the goodness of antioxidants (resveratrol) are retained.
Benefits Of Black Grapes
Black Grapes: Great For The Heart
Studies have shown that eating black grapes, and its products may help protect your heart from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Resveratrol and quercetin, compounds found in black grapes, reduce atherosclerosis risk and give protection against the damage caused by high LDL cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
These polyphenols, like resveratrol, are antioxidants that reduce inflammation by preventing platelet build-up. These amazing compounds in black grapes are also useful in preventing metabolic syndrome—typified by high blood pressure, blood sugar, abdominal fat, triglycerides and low HDL—that cause cardiovascular diseases, stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Black grapes are rich in heart-healthy fibre and potassium and regulate blood pressure. Cardiologists recommend eating a high-potassium-low-sodium diet to lower blood pressure-related complications. Potassium-rich foods also protect you against stroke, loss of muscle mass, and reduced bone mineral density. Black grapes are a great source as they contain 191mg of potassium in 100 grams.
Tip: Black grapes help in boosting one’s immunity.
Black Grapes: Improves Eyesight
Black grapes contain carotenoids called Lutein and Zeaxanthin that prevent oxidative stress to the retina and other degenerative changes. According to a University of Miami study, eating a diet rich in grapes lowers inflammation that causes macular degeneration.
Tip: Compounds like flavans, anthocyanins, flavonols, and stilbenes in black grapes fight inflammation.
Black Grapes: Fights Risk Of Cancer
Black grapes are effective in fighting a wide range of cancers. Rich in antioxidants, carotenoids and polyphenols, like the wonder compound resveratrol, studies have found that eating a diet rich in black grapes may reduce the risk of contracting certain cancers.
For instance, a study done by the University of Colorado Cancer Centre found that resveratrol is effective in preventing alcohol-related head and neck cancers. It prevents the creation of free radicals that cause cancer. Don’t forget to eat the seeds and the skin that are very high in antioxidants. They are also rich in nutrients like Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C and D, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Tip: Resveratrol in black grapes could increase longevity.
Black Grapes: Makes Your Brain Work Better
Does your brain tend to fog over every once in a while? Do you find your concentration wavering and mindfulness a task? Well, grab that bowl of juicy black grapes without any further delay. Studies have proven that eating a diet rich in black grapes helps improve brain function and protects it from age-related degeneration. This is also due to the benefits bestowed by antioxidants like resveratrol that control mood swings and delay memory loss due to ageing.
Some studies have shown that resveratrol may help stave off Alzheimer’s disease. The riboflavin in black grapes is also very useful for those who tend to suffer from headaches and migraines.
Tip: Black grapes contain melatonin that is known to aid sleep.
Black Grapes: Reduces Risk Of Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a huge health concern in India. According to recent government data, around 72.96 million adults have diabetes in India. To make matters worse, diabetes, often considered an urban affliction, has now spread its tentacles into the rural populations as well. In this scenario, it is heartening to note that eating black grapes regularly may help reduce the incidence of diabetes. This is because black grapes regulate insulin levels and up insulin sensitivity. Grapes also have a compound called Pterostilbene that helps to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Besides this, black grapes are low on the glycaemic index (GI figures indicate how much carbohydrate foods raise blood sugar levels). Do note, however, that black grapes should be eaten in moderation because of their high sugar content. Don’t eat more than 10-15 grapes in one serving.
Tip: Black grapes help also relieve constipation and indigestion.
Black Grapes: Prevents Bone Loss
As we have mentioned earlier, black grapes help stave off metabolic syndrome mainly due to their potent antioxidant action. The metabolic syndrome causes a host of problems like low-grade inflammation which leads to Osteoporosis. A Danish study on men with metabolic syndrome found that a diet rich in resveratrol increases spine bone density. Taking a high dose of resveratrol (500g) led to a 2.6 per cent increase in lumbar spine volumetric bone mineral density.
Tip: Grapes can be stored in the fridge for about a week.
Black Grapes: Great For Skin And Hair
Black grapes are not just fantastic for your health; they are great for your skin and hair as well. And the wonder component in them is the potent black grape seed oil that has a host of beauty benefits. Grapeseed oil is an essential component of many beauty products. Black grape seed oil is rich in antioxidants and vitamin E that help your scalp remain healthy by increasing blood circulation, preventing hair fall, split ends and early greying. Grape oil also aids in promoting hair growth and bestows you with a healthy head of hair.
Black grapes are your skin’s best friend as they contain compounds like proanthocyanidins and resveratrol that shields you against harmful ultraviolet rays. If you are suffering from pigmentation, eat plenty of black grapes because they reduce the appearance of dark spots. The high vitamin C content in black grapes also keeps those wrinkles away, rejuvenates skin cells, and increases skin elasticity. A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, found that resveratrol has amazing acne-fighting properties when combined with the medication benzoyl peroxide.
Tip: When buying grapes make sure that they are firmly attached to the stem and are not wrinkled.
Faqs: Black Grape Benefits
Q. How should one check for quality when buying black grapes?
A. Choose grapes that are fleshy and firm. They should be firmly attached to the stem and not wrinkled or mouldy.
Q. Will eating black grapes help me sleep?
A. Some studies suggest that eating black grapes may help you sleep as they contain a compound called melatonin that is known to aid sleep.
Q. Are black grapes fattening?
A. Black grapes are a low GI food and a cup of black grapes (about 100 g) contains 95 calories. However, they are rich in sugar, so don’t overdose on them. Eat them with other fruits and limit servings to 10-15 grapes.