The grape belongs to the berry family and is one of the most valued conventional fruits worldwide. There are many types of grapes including; green, red, black, yellow and pink. They grow in clusters and come in seeded and seedless varieties. In fact, grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years and have been revered by several ancient civilizations for their use in wine making. Grapes offer a wealth of health benefits due to their high nutrient and antioxidant contents.
Although most of the parts of the grapevine are useful, primarily, the fruit is considered as a source of unique natural products not only for the development of valuable medicines against a number of diseases, but also for manufacturing various industrial products.
The grape fruits are known to contain high quantity of potassium minerals and as such, regular consumption of it is very beneficial for a healthy heart and in maintaining a healthy blood pressure level. In fact, a low intake of potassium is known to protect the body against bad cholesterol. Therefore, the fruit of the grape is one of the most palatably edible foods, having many established nutritional and medicinal properties for consumers.
Regular intake of grapes and its products is a powerful source of anti-aging agents such as resveratrol vital for the overall longevity. It also increases the levels of vitamin C in body’s cells and strengthens the capillaries against the kind of traumatic injury that causes bruises. The phenolic compounds found in grape skin protects the body from low-density lipoproteins (LDL) cholesterol even better than vitamin E.
In addition to the aforementioned vitamin C, which is vital for immunity, grapes also support the immune system through their natural anti-microbial properties. Likewise, resveratrol compound found in grapes increases the body’s insulin sensitivity and hence improves the body’s ability to use glucose, subsequently lowering the blood sugar levels. Resveratrol also increases the number of glucose receptors on cell membranes, which may have a beneficial effect on blood sugar, important in reducing the risk of diabetes. However, though grapes are high in sugar, they have a low glycemic index (causes a lower and slower rise in blood glucose once eaten).
Grapes are an all-round fruit which contain over 80% water. Its regular consumption is therefore vital for the body’s hydration that is directly linked to the skin appearance, cell regeneration and overall body health.
Rich in vitamin K that plays a role in keeping bones strong, grapes also contain copper mineral which plays a significant role in energy production and formation of collagen and red blood cells in the body. The natural melatonin in grapes enhances a longer and better quality sleep. This is very important in preventing insomnia (sleep deprivation) which is tied to a number of health risks including depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity among others.
The lutein and zeaxanthin in grapes protect the retina and eye lens from risk of macular degeneration and cataracts.
Keeping in mind all the health benefits, it is worthwhile to note that grapes are fruits eaten wholly. There is therefore increased risk from pesticide toxicity since the fruits are sometimes covered in pesticides. Therefore, be sure to wash your grapes thoroughly, or opt for organic grapes.
Disclaimer: This article is only intended to provide general information on these mosquito repellant plants. Please consult a plant specialist before planting any of them in your home and be aware that you may be allergic to the scent of some of these plants too.
By Richard Komakech
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