About Claudia, Blog, Cooking, Mediterranean Diet

Grapes: The fruit of the gods

grapes

Cultivated for thousands of years, the almighty grape has been a steadfast produce in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It’s fruit has been commonly called the Fruit of the Gods. This versatile climber plant comes in a variety of varieties, colors, seeded and unseeded. While in the West, we primarily eat the fruit, and toss the rest of the plant. Who hasn’t tossed a handful of grapes into their child’s lunchbox? However in the Mediterranean, the entire plant is used for a number of reasons.  Get ready to be schooled on the almighty Grape!

Medicinal Value

  • Grapes are a natural laxative, diuretic, and enjoy high levels of Vitamin C and B6
  • Grapes have a low glycemic index, making it a great source of natural energy for diabetics and dieters alike
  • It is excellent in treatment of liver problems, helping to lower blood pressure and ease the problems caused with poor circulation
  • The leaves are an astringent, so they have been used to treat diarrhea
  • Grape juice (not to be confused with fermented grape juice or wine) helps to detoxify the body.

In a study published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, it reports that eating at least three servings of raisins or grapes per day lowers the risk of age-related macular degeneration

wine-glasses

Stock photo from www.tajharris.com
  • Resveratrol is still being discussed as increasing the longevity of a healthy life. Specifically, reseveratrol, which is extracted from grape skin and flesh, is being studied and touted as increasing the longevity of three of our genes.
  • Grape seed oil is a popularly used natural oil that is hypo-allergenic
  • Grape seed extract is a known antioxidant

Preparation

  • Eat fresh grapes and drink the juice especially after illness
  • Grapes can sun dried and made available as raisins throughout the year. This dried fruit is often times used as a healthy candy for children
  • Diarrhea plaguing you? Ancient wisdom has you taking a handful of leaves and steeping in boiling water. Drink.
  • One of my favorite uses of grapes: stuffed grape leaves or dolmas! I will provide you with a recipe to make stuffed grape leaves soon. Super duper easy, and really beautiful on a platter, wow your friends with authentic dolmas.

Dolma

Stock photo from www.mnchurches.org

One of the biggest changes I made was from eating seedless grapes in the U.S., to eating seeded grapes in Cyprus. As is conventional wisdom in the Med, seeded grapes can often times be sweeter; but more importantly, the seeds themselves provide helpful antioxidants, anti-cancer fighting properties and even (albeit small) amounts of protein. I must admit, it took awhile to get used to, but now I am an avid seed eater and love it.

Go out and get yourself some grapes today! Make them part of your healthy heart diet for you and your family. Of course, enjoying the grape and wine makes for a happy, healthy girl. If it’s good for the ancient gods and goddesses, it must be good enough for us, too.

Did I miss something with the health benefits of the almighty grape? If so, please drop me a note!

Discover your inner Aphrodite. . .

Claudia

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