White Grapes as Beneficial for Health as Red Ones

White and red are equally potent against cardiovascular disorders and both the skin and the flesh of grapes are beneficial for the health

By Alexandra Lupu on August 12th, 2006 12:27 GMT
If until now red grapes were thought to be considerably more beneficial for our health, especially for the heart, a recent study showed that white clusters are just as good for the heart as their darker cluster fellows. A new lab study conducted by Italian and US scientists proved that white grapes and wine offer as much protection against cardiovascular disorders as red grapes and wine. Scholar Dipak Das from the University Of Connecticut School Of Medicine worked with researchers from the University of Milan and several other research institutes in Italy for completing the study.

The research carried out on mice also showed that grapes' skin is as healthy as their flesh. Contrary to the belief that the flesh is healthier, as it more nutritive compounds, the skin was found as beneficial for the health as the flesh. "The results indicate for the first time that the flesh of grapes are equally cardioprotective as skin, and the antioxidant potential of skin and flesh of grapes are comparable with each other despite the fact that flesh does not possess any anthocyanin activities," wrote researchers in the report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

In the laboratory trial, researchers formed three groups of mice: animals in the first group received dietary supplementation with water only, those in the second group received grape flesh extract and those in the third group were administered grape skin extract.

After a 30 day period, the team investigated all mice and found that those treated with grape skin and flesh extract were at lower risk of stroke and heart attack. However, no difference between the benefits of skin and flesh of grapes was noticed.

"On the basis of the findings that resveratrol and proanythocyanidins are present in the skins and seeds of the grapes, much attention has been paid to these parts and not the flesh. The present study indicates that several organic acids and polyphenols possessing potent antioxidant activities present in the flesh of grapes are also found in white wines," researchers noted.

Red grapes have been praised until now by nutritionists and medical experts for the natural pigments found in these fruits: the flavonoids. Flavonoids are red, blue or violet pigments that confer the same color to the plant or fruit, therefore they are found in red or blue-violet grapes, not in white grapes. The most two potent flavonoids found in grapes are: quercitin and resveratrol.

Flavonoids are a class of naturally occurring plant compounds that function as antioxidants. They are plant pigments and even if they are not labeled as essential nutrients, they enhance the processing of vitamin C, which is itself a powerful antioxidant. Flavonoids are also needed to maintain capillary walls and protect against infections. Deficiency of flavonoids may lead to easily bruising.

Flavonoids are extremely potent anti-oxidants. Antioxidant properties of the natural pigments fight against molecular oxidation by the free radicals; this is why they are called anti-oxidants. In our body an infinite number of chemical reactions take place every day.

Therefore, scientists Italian and US researchers have discovered that both white and red grapes are beneficial for the heart and also both the skin and the flesh of a grape have the same positive effects on our body. "Although further study is needed to identify the principle ingredients responsible for the cardioprotective abilities of the grape flesh, to the best of our knowledge, our study provides evidence for the first time that the flesh of grapes is equally cardioprotective with respect to the skins," scientists concluded.
  
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