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Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes

In our last article on muscadines we reviewed the nutrients in the muscadine grape that make it different than any other grape. In this article, we are going to learn how the nutrients can help you and some exciting studies on the health benefits of the Muscadine grape.

Are the Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes just from its Resveratrol Content?

No! As muscadine grapes have about 6 times more Resveratrol than standard grapes, they are an excellent source of Resveratrol. We have already talked about the health benefits of Resveratrol, so while the Resveratrol in Muscadines is fantastic, let's focus on some of the other nutrients in Muscadines and their health benefits.

Are the Health Benefits of Muscadine Grapes the same as the benefits from red grapes, red wine and grape seeds?

No! Muscadines take all the health benefits of the red grape and take it to a new level. Let's face it, Red Wine and red grapes are incredibly healthy.

Do a search at PubMed.Gov and you will find...

  • Over 2,300 studies on Red Wine
  • Over 700 studies on Grape Seed
  • Over 550 studies on Red Grapes
Yes, some of those studies focus on the resveratrol in red grapes, but many more focus on all the other polyphenols and nutrients found in red grapes and grape seeds. The studies on red wine and heart health and longevity have been nothing short of amazing. While it is not the focus of this article, it is important to realize that the health benefits of red wine, red grape and grape seeds are fantastic.

Some of the Potential Health Benefits of Red Grapes and Red Wines:

  • Boosts Heart Function and Promotes a Healthy Heart
  • Helps Reduce or Balance Cholesterol Levels
  • Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
  • Boosts the Immune System
  • Protects Against Mild Memory Loss
  • Reduces Signs of Aging

Muscadine grapes take all those positive health benefits of red grapes and bring it to the next level. To learn how muscadines improve on the health benefits of red grapes, let's dig a little deeper into some of the unique nutrients in Muscadine Grapes.

What is Ellagic Acid and Why is It Important?

Ellagic acid is a polyphenol (we define polyphenols here) - more specifically it is a phenolic acid. Now unless you are a plant and chemistry geek, these names really don't matter. In laymen terms, Ellagic acid is a compound found in some foods, with very strong antioxidant properties.

What is fascinating is that Ellagic Acid is only found in one type of grape - Muscadine Grapes. The reason this is significant is that Ellagic Acid has been the focus of numerous studies for its possible anti-cancer and tumor fighting effects.

Ellagic acid may aide in chemoprevention. Chemoprevention is a term that means to chemically prevent cancer from occurring, growing or metastasizing. There is great interest in chemoprevention (not to be confused with chemotherapy) because it may be the best way to fight cancer, stop it from growing before it reaches a level that causes problems.

Ground Breaking Study on Ellagic Acid and Prostate Cancer

On September 1, 2007 the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) published the results of their study on Muscadine grape skins in the Cancer Research Journal. Rather than us telling you what the study found, let's look at some direct quotes from the study...

"Laboratory experiments show that an extract of the skin of muscadine grapes can inhibit growth of prostate cancer cells in the laboratory."

"Using a series of human prostate cancer cells, representing different stages of prostate cancer progression, the researchers showed that Muscadine Skin Extract (MSKE) significantly inhibits the growth of cancerous, but not normal, prostate cells, primarily by inducing a process called apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Programmed cell death is one of the mechanisms the body uses to rid itself of cells with unrepaired genetic damage before those cells can duplicate themselves. In contrast, resveratrol seems to act by blocking the cell cycle, a sequence of steps that a cell passes through when it grows and divides into two identical cells. Both mechanisms are used by the body to prevent the development of cancer."

"The fact that all of the cells studied, which cover the different stages of prostate cancer tumor progression, responded to MSKE suggests that the active compounds in this extract may inhibit tumor development at very early stages."

"Although MSKE has significant inhibitory effects on the prostate cancer cell lines, it did not alter the growth variables of normal human primary prostate cells. This strongly suggests that the effects of MSKE may be specific for transformed cells, even at early stages, and that MSKE may be potentially very useful as a chemopreventive agent."

-National Institute of Health, 9/1/2007, Unique Grape Skin Extract Inhibits Prostate Cancer Cell Growth in the Laboratory

- Inhibition of Prostate Cancer Growth by Muscadine Grape Skin Extract and Resveratrol through Distinct Mechanisms, 9/1/2007, Cancer Research

Resveratrol and Muscadine Grapes - Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

In our article on Resveratrol Supplements we talked about how Resveratrol has some incredible health benefits, but we still felt that there were some other components of grapes that could compliment Resveratrol. The above NIH Study on Muscadine Grapes shows that the Ellagic acid in muscadines can inhibit the growth of cancer cells by inducing programmed cell death and resveratrol works by blocking the cell cycle. Both are important mechanisms to prevent the development of cancer and shows how the combination of Resveratrol and Muscadine Grapes makes a perfect combination.

Muscadine Grapes - More Fiber Than Oat Bran

There is a lot more to muscadine grapes than ellagic acid and resveratrol. Muscadine grapes are also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Here is a direct quote from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) website -

"Betty J. Ector has big plans for the muscadine. In research jointly funded by USDA, the Mississippi State University nutritionist found that a puree of muscadine skins and pulp is an excellent source of resveratrol, dietary fiber, and some essential minerals and is high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein.

"We found that powdered muscadine puree has more dietary fiber than oat or rice bran," Ector says. "And we know that high fiber consumption lowers blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. It also protects against coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and colon cancer. Soluble fiber has extra benefits for diabetics by delaying glucose absorption and increasing the sensitivity of skeletal muscles to insulin."

-America's First Grape: The Muscadine, USDA.GOV Website

Muscadine Grapes - All The Benefits of Red Grapes...Plus So Much More!

We know, this starts to sound like one of those late night TV commercials - "Wait, don't order yet. You get all this PLUS so much more!" What is amazing about the muscadine grape is that the health benefits of the Ellagic Acid and fiber are really just bonuses. Do a search in PubMed on the health benefits of grape skins, red wine and grape seeds and you will find thousands of studies. Muscadine grapes provide all the health benefits that have been associated with red wine and grapes - plus all the benefits that come from the Ellagic Acid and fiber.

Muscadine Grapes Sound Great - How Should I Take Them?

There are a number of different ways to work muscadines into your diet - Muscadine wine, Muscadine Jam and Jelly, Muscadine juice and Muscadine supplements. In our next article we look at the best ways to get Muscadines in your diet.

The Best Way to Get Muscadine Grapes in Your Diet


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