The vine made man happy long before it became the basis for wine. So he early also respected the health benefits of eating grapes. Even before the Copper Age, when man realized that the crushed grapes became a sweet intoxicating drink after fermentation, he valued the vine for its sweet fruit, nutritious and very healthy grapes. Certainly, pieces of meat and grain were wrapped in young vine leaves and cooked as early as antiquity. For the ancient tribes, the vine was a tree of God, a gift from the gods – much like olive trees.
In vines, almost everything is medicinal: leaves, flowers, tendrils, and grapes. The leaves and tendrils have 2 percent sugar and tartaric, malic, and succinic acid and their salts, as well as tannins, wax, and minerals. In folk medicine, they are used against rheumatism and gout, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloody sputum. They make tea and baths from fresh or dried vine leaves for frostbite on the hands and feet. Freshly crushed leaves can be used as a compress for burning eyes with a sore head and stomach. However, the juice from fresh notches in the vine stops bleeding and is good as an eye compress; it also heals ulcers, lichens, and impure skin.
Fresh young leaves can be pickled like sauerkraut, eaten, or used as compresses for bumps and swellings. Or we wrap meat in them and cook. Young tendrils can be fried or baked …
Vine flowers are also useful. Folk medicine recommends overturning from a heaped teaspoon of vine flowers, which we should drink gradually in teaspoons throughout the day. This tea – one cup a day – can also be used to rub or massage slightly paralyzed limbs and a sore back. Fresh vine flowers fried in raw butter are considered a remedy for sunspots.
Health Benefits of Eating Grapes
Grape sugar is predominant in grape berries, which can pass into the blood and “burn out” almost without residues. It strengthens the heart and calms the nerves. Another important ingredient is vitamins. It has almost all the B vitamins; it is especially rich in folic acid or B9, which people often lack. There is a lot of vitamin C, a little less vitamin A.
Grapes are rich in minerals, especially potassium, magnesium, manganese, a little less phosphorus, fluorine, calcium and iron, and other trace elements. Strawberries have a significant supply of ballast substances, tannins and tartaric, malic, succinic, and silicic acids.
The Most Important Health Benefits of Eating Grapes Are:
- grapes regulate acid in the stomach and intestinal peristalsis, cleanse the blood and kidneys, drain water and detoxify the body;
- strongly alkalizes the body;
- fresh grape juice strengthens convalescents, promotes appetite and digestion;
- Grape sugar raises blood sugar levels quickly, but due to B vitamins and fiber, the effect is significantly reduced, so grapes have only a medium glycemic index and, together with the seeds in moderation, are also suitable for people with diabetes;
- grape seeds contain beneficial unsaturated fatty acids, especially linoleic, oleic, and linolenic acid. They also have saturated palmitic and stearic acid. In folk medicine, crushed seeds are used to treat diarrhea;
- grapes and seeds together inhibit cholesterol oxidation and prevent atherosclerosis;
- proanthocyanins, which is the predominant antioxidant in seeds, prevents skin cancer and preserves youth and beauty;
- raisins improve the blood and cleanse the body of all toxins and excess substances.
Protective Substances in Grapes
Polyphenols are potent plant antioxidants that protect against disease and have a beneficial effect on health. Grapes contain the three most effective groups of polyphenols. The flavonoids in grape skins have an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial effect, inhibit platelet aggregation and fat peroxidation, neutralize many carcinogens, and protect the cell’s genetic material from damage. Anthocyanidins give the skin of the fruit an intense red, purple or blue color, and in humans, they strengthen the resistance and improve blood vessels’ elasticity.
Resveratrol, which is in the skin of strawberries, protects grapes from attacks by microorganisms and prevents gray mold. Red grapes have slightly more resveratrol than white. The absorption of resveratrol from grapes and grape juice before fermentation is lower than from wine. The same is true for resveratrol in peanuts, coffee, chocolate … because resveratrol is most easily excreted in mild alcohol solutions. Children and anyone who cannot drink alcohol can obtain resveratrol from grape juice if it is heat-treated. There is not much resveratrol in cold-pressed juice, but there is a lot of piceid in it as a glucose-containing resveratrol derivative. Enzymes in the gut are thought to release large amounts of resveratrol when grape glucose is broken down. This means that grape juice is also a very suitable and healthy drink. As well, wine is a natural complement to any healthy meal. Namely, if the grapes have been properly harvested, processed, and then the wine has been properly aged, all the nutrients and protective substances in the grapes remain in the wine.
Resveratrol is 300 times more powerful antioxidant than vitamin E and decisively prevents lipid oxidation in the human body. It has long been known as a protective antioxidant for the heart and blood vessels.
But over the past twenty years, they have discovered many more beneficial effects:
- protects our cells from destructive free radicals;
- lowers bad and raises the value of good cholesterol;
- inhibits the accumulation of fat in the liver;
- helps reduce the chances of developing diabetes;
- gives cells energy and is especially helpful in chronic fatigue;
- inhibits the aging of cells and consequently the whole organism, the same is supposed to prolong our life;
- relatively late, in 1996, scientists proved that resveratrol inhibits all three stages of cancer in our body: initial, advanced, and progressive. This is especially true for cancers of the breast, colon, and esophagus.
Healthy Vine-Based Recipes
Stuffed Baked Apples With Red Grapes
We need at least one apple per eater; we choose as large as possible to make it easier to carve them out. Then 100 g of crushed walnuts for four apples, correspondingly more for several apples. Berries of two or three bunches of red grapes, juice of one lemon, a few tablespoons honey of flowers, optionally grated zest of unsprayed lemons, a pinch of cinnamon and ground cloves or cardamom. And a small piece of butter for each apple.
In a bowl, mix the filling of ground walnuts, grapes, grated zest, cinnamon, and other spices, pour over with honey and lemon juice, mix well and let the flavors soak. Meanwhile, dig out the seeds from the washed apples. Place the filling in the hollowed-out hole and place some grapes on it. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees, place the stuffed apples in a fireproof glass or another dish previously greased with butter and bake for about 40 minutes. Baked apples are offered hot or cold; also warm with whipped cream or chilled with ice cream.
We need 5 young vine leaves, 5 colorful peppers, 5 large onions, 4 courgettes, 4 medium tomatoes, 5 chard leaves, 1 kg of mixed minced meat (pork and beef, and even better if there is also the meat of small ruminants or mutton), up to 50 dags of rice for risottos, marjoram, thyme, curry, lots of chopped garlic and parsley, salt and pepper, olive oil, water.
Peel the vegetables and remove the seeds from the peppers. Cut the courgettes in half and dig them out, as well as the tomatoes and onions; we keep the courgettes’ content. We also keep the harder stem parts of the chard.
Prepare the filling separately: mix the minced contents of the minced parts of onion, tomato and zucchini, garlic and parsley between the minced meat, add salt, pepper, and other spices and mix. Then add the rice, which is previously washed under cold water, mix well again and stuff tomatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers with this mass, or wrap it in chard and vine leaves in a roll ”. We put all this in a large container, in which we place the chard stem at the bottom. Add water to the top of the pan, add extra salt, and cook over medium heat for about an hour. The salinity is checked by tasting the water in which the dolma is cooked. Serve with a yogurt drink – mix yogurt, garlic, and parsley.
Note: Use fresh vine leaves until summer, then blanch them quickly before use.