Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Muscadine Grapes>>>Health Benefits>>>

Muscadine Grape (Vitis rotundifolia)

These are the most beneficial grapes in the world today when it comes to your health. There are numerous claims to the benefits of red wine, grape seed extract, grape skin, etc.

An apple slice turns brown. Fish becomes rancid. A cut on your skin is raw and inflamed. All of these result from a natural process called oxidation. It happens to all cells in nature, including the ones in your body. To help your body protect itself from the rigors of oxidation, Mother Nature provides thousands of different antioxidants in various amounts in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. When your body needs to put up its best defense, especially true in today's environment, antioxidants are crucial to your health.

Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions. You are exposed to free radicals through:

  • by-products of normal and abnormal processes that take place in your body,
  • synthetic processing of foods and food additives,
  • chemicals that we are exposed to,
  • second-hand and side-effects from smoking,
  • when the body breaks down certain medications,
  • through the many environmental pollutants.

Antioxidants include some vitamins (such as vitamins C and E), some minerals (such as selenium), and flavonoids, which are found in plants. The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables; you can find flavonoids in fruits, red wine, and some teas. You can also buy natural antioxidant supplements. Experts are studying how antioxidants affect the risk for many diseases. These diseases include:

Allergies, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes, Gum Disease,
Immune System decline, Osteoporosis, Parkinson's Disease,
DNA Mutation in Cells, Birth Defects, High Blood Pressure,
Heart Disease, Schizophrenia, Hardening of the Arteries,
Cardiovascular Disease, Cataracts, Crohn's Disease,
Alzheimer's Disease, and research is exploring many more.

Scientists with the Agricultural Research Service and Mississippi State University have found significant amounts of resveratrol in the skin, pulp, and seeds of muscadine grapes. Resveratrol is the compound in French wines said to lower cholesterol and the risk of coronary heart disease.

In the Southeast, muscadines are grown to make juice. But the researchers are now using muscadine waste from juice processing to make products like muffins, jams and granola cereal.

One-half serving (two ounces) of unfiltered muscadine juice, one serving of muscadine jam, one medium muscadine muffin, or one-tenth serving of muscadine sauce give the same dietary amounts of resveratrol as four fluid ounces of red wine. That’s according to the researchers, horticulturist Jim Magee at ARS’ Small Fruit Research Laboratory in Poplarville, Miss., and nutritionist Betty Ector with MSU in Mississippi State, Miss.

Muscadine puree--an excellent source of resveratrol, dietary fiber and some essential minerals--is high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. Powdered puree contains more dietary fiber than oat or rice bran. In MSU studies, rats fed the powder had lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and higher HDL (good) levels than animals in the control group.

The muscadine’s newfound health benefits could boost the crop in the Southeast. And Magee and ARS colleagues have developed growing methods that reduce the time needed to produce a commercial crop from 5 years to 3 years.

A story about the research appears in the November issue of ARS’ Agricultural Research magazine. The story can also be viewed on the World Wide Web at:

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