Grapes are known to be healthy. And now research says that they are particularly good for women. Doctors at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, believe grapes could help women avoid the painful scarring associated with breast cancer treatment.
British doctors claim that new studies indicate that the antioxidants in grapes protect against radiation fibrosis caused by the continuous release of free radicals, triggered when a patient undergoes radiotherapy. The free radicals cause havoc in the cells of a cancer patient, can cause DNA damage and lead to the formation of stiff and painful tissue around the breast. Antioxidants contained in grapes can mop up these potentially damaging molecules. This study was recently quoted on the BBC website.
Some ways to work grapes into your diet:
' Reach for grape juice instead of soda.
' Serve grapes Mediterranean style - as an
after-dinner dessert with a slice of cheese.
' Freeze grapes for a cooling summer treat.
' Add grapes to tuna, chicken or Caesar
' Add them sliced to your cereal in the
' Make a scrumptious breakfast smoothie
with grapes, honey and yoghurt (1/2 cup
seedless green grapes, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2
cup yoghurt, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/8 tsp
vanilla essence, 2 ice cubes, crushed. Put
all ingredients in a mixer and blend at
high speed for 15 seconds).
' Pack them in lunch boxes for work or
The US Department of Agriculture has also found another compound in grapes - pterostilbene - that has anti-cancer properties. Preliminary research also shows that it can lower blood glucose.
Grapes can be a woman's best friend as they contain bioflavonoids. According to Dr Susan M Lark in her book, 'The Menopause Self Help Book', bioflavonoids can be used for estrogen replacement and can control symptoms of menopause, such as hot flushes, fatigue, irritability and mood swings.
Grapes are nutrition powerhouses too. They have a lot of boron, which is necessary for bone formation and protects against osteoporosis. "Ten grapes have about 40 calories and provide a good amount of vitamin C. Besides, they are full of potassium and Vitamin A and have some calcium too," says Dr Pratima Kaushik, chief dietician at the Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Surgery (VIMHANS).
Research also suggests that the extract of grape seeds offers several benefits. Its ability to bond with collagen promotes a youthful skin, cell health, elasticity and flexibility. The extract helps protect the body from sun damage and improves vision. "Grape seed extract contains a powerful antioxidant called proanthocyanidins (much stronger than vitamin E and vitamin C), which strengthens capillaries, arteries and veins, improves circulation and reduces nerve damage in the eye," says Dr Marc Grossman, optometrist and licensed acupuncturist in USA.
Rich in flavonoids (each tiny grape holds up to 1,000 different flavonoids), this fruit provides a safety patrol for the cardiovascular system and helps slow the ageing process. "Several studies show that fresh grapes and wine are equally cardioprotective," concurs Dr Dipak K Das, principal investigator of a study done in the University of Connecticut and later published by the New York Academy of Sciences. This particular study found that grapes protect the heart and blood vessels against oxidative tissue damage, similar to the well-known effects of red wine.
New research, like that of Dr John Folts of the University of Wisconsin Medical School, claims that grapes may have a more protective anti-clotting effect than aspirin. While aspirin and red wine both have anti-clotting activity of 45 per cent, ordinary grape juice has 75 per cent.
Grapes do a marvelous job of controlling hypertension. According to Health World Online's website www.healthy.net, one way of treating hypertension is to consume one cup of grape juice and one cup of celery juice each with warm water three times a day for 20 days. After 20 days, rest for five to seven days, then begin another 20-day treatment.
So, go for grapes today.