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Grapes for taste and health

Do you want a healthy way to add flavor to your vegetable juice? Throw in some grapes, seeds and all. Adding a small amount of grapes tremendously improves the flavor of vegetable juice. I would limit the amount to about 5 grapes per every 8 ounces of juice, if you have evidence of high insulin levels, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes, and make sure you eat the pulp. I would also recommend you get the red seeded grapes.

You have probably heard of grape seed extract. Well you can get all the antioxidant and phytochemical benefits of grape seed extract when you juice the entire grape along with their seeds. It also tremendously improves the flavor of the juice.

Grape seeds are known as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect the body from premature aging, decay and disease. Antioxidants are needed to neutralize free radicals.

What is grape seed extract?

  Grape seed extract is a nutrient derived from the seeds of grapes which belongs to the bioflavonoid family. The active ingredients contained in grape seed extract are called "proanthocyanidins". Proanthocyanidins are known to exhibit antioxidant properties. Proanthocyanidins are also called "procyanidolic oligomers", or PCOs for short - whew!

PCO bioflavonoids were first noticed in the laboratory because they have the remarkable ability to strengthen blood vessel walls within hours after taking them. The person responsible for the discovery of PCO bioflavonoids was a French scientist named Dr. Jacques Masquelier, who first tested bioflavonoid-containing peanuts on lab animals and discovered that their blood vessel walls would double in strength only hours after ingesting them. His discovery was made in 1948. In 1951, this same doctor extracted PCOs from pine bark.

Free radicals play a major role in the development of degenerative diseases, strokes, cardiovascular diseases and aging. Studies have shown that PCOs in grape seed extract are as much as 50 times more potent than those in Vitamin E and up to 20 times more potent than PCOs in Vitamin C.

The beneficial properties of flavonoids, including proanthocyanidins, have been extensively researched(2,7-9). In addition to their antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity, proanthocyanidins found in grape seed extract have been reported(1,8,10,11) to have antibacterial, anticarcinogenic, antiviral, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, and vasodilatory actions.(2,12)

Grape seed extract has also proven to be valuable in the treatment of inadequate blood flow in the capillaries and veins. Small studies have shown increased capillary strength using as little as 50 milligrams/day, and increased venous blood flow using 150 milligrams/day.


What can happen if I take too much grape seed extract?

Flavonoids in general and proanthocyanidins in particular are free of side-effects. Since they are water-soluble, any excess proanthocyanidins are excreted via sweat or urine. There are no well-known drug interactions with grape seed extract or proanthocyanidins.

The best price I'm aware of on the internet for high quality grape seed extract can be found hereicon. I also like Puritan Pride's special "Buy 1 Get 2 FREE" promotions on grape seed extract.

Resveratrol in the skin of grapes

But the seeds of the grape are not the only valuable part in a grape. There is a substance found in the skin (not flesh) of grapes, called "resveratrol".  

Researchers reported in a study(13) that resveratrol is converted in the body to a known anti-cancer agent that can selectively target and destroy cancer cells.

Although previous studies have suggested that this phytoestrogen, resveratrol, might prevent cancer, the authors of this study said it was the first time that scientists had gained an insight into the underlying mechanism of the chemical's anti-cancer properties.

Fresh grape skin contains about 50 - 100 micrograms of resveratrol per gram, while red wine concentrations range from 1.5 to 3 milligrams per liter.

In short, for taste and for health, put some grapes in your juice!


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(1). Murray M, Pizzorno J. Procyanidolic oligomers. In: Murray M, Pizzorno J, eds. The Textbook of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. London: Churchill Livingston; 1999:899-902.

(2). Bagchi D, Krohn RL, Bagchi M, et al. Oxygen free radical scavenging abilities of vitamins C and E, and a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract in vitro. Res Commun Mol Pathol Pharmacol 1997;95:179-189.

(3). Bravo L. Polyphenols: chemistry, dietary sources, metabolism, and nutritional significance. Nutr Rev 1998;56:317-333.

(4). Bombardelli E, Morazzoni P. Vitis vinifera L. Fitoterapia 1995;66:291-317.

(5). da Silva J, Rigaud J, Cheynier V, et al. Procyanidin dimers and trimers from grape seeds. Phytochemistry 1991;30:1259-1264.

(6). Romeyer F, Macheix J, Sapis J. Changes and importance of oligomeric procyanidins during maturation of grape seeds. Phytochemistry 1986;25:219-221.

(7). Havsteen B. Flavonoids, a class of natural products of high pharmacological potency. Biochem Pharmacol 1983;32:1141-1148.

(8). Frankel EN, Kanner J, German JB, et al. Inhibition of oxidation of human low-density lipoprotein by phenolic substances in red wine. Lancet 1993;341:454-457.

(9). Bombardelli E, Morazzoni P, Carini M, et al. Biological activity of procyanidins from Vitis vinifera L. BioFactors 1997;6:429-431.

(10). Chen ZY, Chan PT, Ho KY, et al. Antioxidant activity of natural flavonoids is governed by number and location of their aromatic hydroxyl groups. Chem Phys Lipids 1996;79:157-163.

(11). Nuttall SL, Kendall MJ, Bombardelli E, Morazzoni P. An evaluation of the antioxidant activity of a standardized grape seed extract, Leucoselect. J Clin Pharm Ther 1998;23:385-389.

(12). Bagchi D, Garg A, Krohn R, et al. Protective effects of grape seed proanthocyanidins and selected antioxidants against TPA-induced hepatic and brain lipid peroxidation and DNA fragmentation, and peritoneal macrophage activation in mice. Gen Pharmacol 1998;30:771-776.

(13) British Journal of Cancer 2002;5



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