Grapes are berries and the earliest domesticated fruit crop, which is cultivated for use as a fruit, in juices, jams, jellies, pies, and wines.
They are green, red or blue-black. Some grapes are seedless, while others have seeds, some of which are edible.
Although grapes are not locally grown, they are imported and one can access them in some local supermarkets such as Simba Supermarket in town, New Frulep next to Rwandex.
Studies show that only one cup of grapes provides about a quarter of ones daily vitamin C needs, nearly 20 per cent for vitamin K, and at least 10 per cent for copper.
In addition to supporting immunity, vitamin C is needed for DNA repair.
Joseph Uwiragiye, the head of the nutrition department at University Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK), says vitamin C also significantly boosts the absorption of iron from plant foods.
He says that a higher blood level of vitamin C is tied to increase fat burning, both during exercise and at rest. Vitamin K is required for bone formation, and a shortfall is linked to increased fracture risk.
The copper in grapes, he says, plays a role in energy production, plus the formation of collagen and red blood cells. Grapes also provide smaller amounts of several key nutrients, including B vitamins, potassium, and manganese.
In addition to the vitamins C and A presence which is vital for immunity, Uwiragiye says grapes support the immune system through their natural anti-microbial properties.
A one-cup portion also supplies about two and a half ounces of water, which is important for hydration, circulation and healthy blood flow, and waste elimination.
Grapes contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been known to protect the retina and eye lens.
Theyve been shown to increase visual range, lessen discomfort from glare, enhance visual contrast, and reduce the time it takes the eyes to recover from the strain of bright lights.
Grapes also help lower the risk of macular degeneration and cataracts, two common eye disorders.
For people trying to lose some weight due to certain conditions, or just for fitness, Uwiragiye says consuming grapes can help with weight loss or management.
He explains that this is so because grapes are a low-calorie, fat-free food with a low glycaemic index. These vine-growing goodies also contain compounds with antioxidant properties.
One of them, he says, is resveratrol which is thought to trigger certain reactions that may improve energy metabolism.
Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based consultant, says eating grapes can also help rejuvenate the skin. He explains that this is because grapes are filled with vitamin C and antioxidants which revitalise the skin.
In fact, he says, they can even protect ones skin from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation and free radicals that can, on a lesser scale, cause wrinkles and dark spots.
Also, the added vitamin C is necessary for the skin to form collagen, which helps give the face a youthful firmness.
For a healthy snack, Uwiragiye says grape is the best option as it helps boosts ones energy.
He explains that the complex carbohydrates found in grapes can give one a much-needed energy boost.
Also, when it comes to cardiovascular health, grapes are overachievers. Some compounds in grapes can help regulate blood pressure, reduce inflammation from oxidative stress, improve blood flow, and protect your vascular system.
Nutritionists say that the manganese found in grapes is a health benefit that helps to strengthen the bones.
Manganese is a mineral already occurring in our bodies in small amounts. It contributes to healthy bones (by allowing your body to better absorb calcium and also creating essential enzymes to build bones).
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The goodness of grapes - The New Times
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