While table, wine, and raisin grapes come from the same family –Vitaceae and genus –Vitis of plant, there are about 60 different species of this plant type, and within these 60 species, there are literally thousands of grape varieties. All types of grapes come in a variety of colors. While green, red, and black are the most commonly consumed color varieties in the U.S., grape colors also include amber/yellow, blue black, crimson, pink, and purple.
While we often think about the Mediterranean as the home for all grapes, this amazing food is actually native to many parts of the world, including regions in Asia, Africa, and North America. In Europe, the most widely cultivated wine grapes is Vitis vinifera (Common Grape Vine)while in the United States, native species of Vitis grapes include Vitis labrusca (Concord grape) and Vitis rotundifolia (muscadine grape).
History of Grapes
While they’ve grown wild since prehistoric times, evidence suggests they were cultivated in Asia as early as 5000 BC. During the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, grapes were revered for their use in winemaking. They were planted in the Rhine Valley in Germany, a place of notable wine production, in the 2nd century AD. Around this time, over 90 varieties of grapes were already known.
Even though grapes are known to have grown wild on many continents – including Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America – travel and exploration led to transport of native grapes across the world. Spanish friars are credited with bringing European varieties to the United States to serve at the missions they settled across California and the southwest beginning in the 1700s. California’s climate provided ideal grape-growing conditions, and consequently it became the leading grape-growing state, accounting for almost 90% of commercially grown table grapes in the US today.
21 WONDERS OF GRAPES IN REJUVENATING YOUR BODY
- Powers Weight Loss: Resveratrol (in combination with soy isoflavones), a nutrient abundant in grapes, dramatically reduces cells’ ability to store fat (upto 130%) and causes disintegration of fat cells 246% faster than normal.
- Heart Protection: Improves the dilation of blood vessels, increases blood flow delivering increased oxygen and nutrients to the body cells, relaxes the walls of the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
- Brain Tonic: Speeds up mental responses, delays the onset of neurodegenerative diseases, mops up brain-damaging plaques and free radicals.
- Radiation Protection: Resveratrol, protects the body against radiation therapy when used as an adjunct in radiation treatment of cancer.
- Prolong Lifespan: Scientific studies have identified Resveratrol as the nutrient responsible for activation of the human gene for survival and longevity.
- Diabetes Cure: Prediabetics given Resveratrol had a 10 percent drop in blood sugar levels.
- Anti-Oxidant and Anti-Inflammatory: Loaded with phytochemicals, proanthocyanidins and phytonutrients which possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cholesterol Control: Pterostilbene, a compound present in grapes, helps lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Kidney Disorders: Grapes help in reducing the acidity of uric acid and aid in its elimination from the system, greatly reducing workload on the kidneys.
- Asthma Cure: Grapes have high assimilatory power which helps in increasing the level of moisture present in lungs. Grapes are considered to have high therapeutic value for asthma.
- Antibacterial: Red grapes are rich in antibacterial and antiviral properties and protect you from various infections like poliovirus and herpes simplex virus.
- Constipation Relief: As a laxative food, grapes are rich in sugar, organic acid and polyose. They conjointly relieve chronic constipation by toning up the stomach.
- Anti-Coagulant: Grapes prevent blood clots by increasing the nitric oxide levels in the blood thereby reducing the risk of heart attack.
- Eye Care: Grapes are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, which are responsible for maintaining good eye health as we age.
- Sunburn Protection: Grape seed extract acts as a sunscreen, reducing the redness due to sunburns, provides protection against harmful UV radiation and minimizes skin cell damage.
- Anti-Ageing benefits: Antioxidants present in grapes, along with vitamin C, tone up the skin and protect the skin from harmful effects of free radicals, and reverse the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots.
- Skin Rejuvenation: Grapes contain vitamin C which aid collagen formation critical for firmness and suppleness of the skin. Resveratrol protects the skin against harsh weather and reduces discoloration.
- Skin Toning: Vitamin C in green grapes is very effective in curing uneven skin tones and lightening scars due to acne. Grape seed extract is rich in vitamin E which hydrates, acts as an exfoliant and is an excellent moisturizer.
- Hair Care: Grape seed oil increases blood circulation, combats seborrheic dermatitis, and cradle cap in infants. Vitamin E and linoleic acid strengthen hair follicles and are beneficial in treating split ends, brittleness and breakage of hair due to rough handling.
- Aromatherapy: Grape seed oil is non-greasy and light, has good emollient properties and is suited for all skin types making it ideal for use in aromatherapy.
- Alzeimer Cure: The polyphenol, Resveratrol, helps reduce the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Pesticide Residues: According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” conventionally grown grapes are among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of grapes unless they are grown organically.