E / Em / A sus4 / E7


Not only does the great grape,
Taste great,
It's something I ate,
In my own climate,
Which is crucial,
To my diet,
I suggest you try it,
It's critical,
To my well being,
If you know what I mean?

Citrus isn't as good for us,
If we live in zone seven,
Or, below,
As the temperature,
Approaches zero,
Certain stuff won't grow,
That's for sure,
So, if you want a taste of heaven,
Begin... in your own garden.

It should be natural,
Not special,
To harvest,
What is best,
Right in your own backyard...
It's really not that hard.

At any rate,
The grape tastes great,
It can also be fun,
As a jelly spread,
Make a fine wine,
Or, dine...
On the raisin,
Dried in the sun,
Or, baked in bread.
You can't avoid,
The flavonoid,
Fat free,
It's very healthy,
With lots of,
A and C,
And, they say,
Vitamin K,
No confusion,
There's a profusion,
Of potassium,
For cancer control...
Perhaps even reversal,
Eat the skin,
And, take-in,

No need to rape,
The land,
When we understand,
The grape.

See what you can create,
With the great grape.


From Me
When people ask me about their diet, or suggest they need to "go on a diet," I suggest the "loco local" diet. That's right... as crazy as it sounds, you don't need to worry so much about the quantity of food you eat. Rather, pay more attention to where your food comes from. Ideally, you would grow/raise all your own food. However, not too many people can manage to do it. So, when you acquire your food, try to buy products that are grown close to home -- locally.

That means if you live in Pennsylvania, you should try to find locally grown tomatoes, potatoes, apples, grapes and raspberries (as opposed to lemon, limes and oranges.)

From Winemaker Magazine
Many fruits thrive in cold regions and make fine country wines, but don't let your climate zone discourage you from planting a few grape vines among the rhubarb and raspberries. You may not get a harvest every year, but the satisfaction of producing your own grape wine proves worthy of the challenge.

From the American Dietetic Association
The Grape Unknown: Health Benefits of Red Wine

Research suggests moderate consumption of red wine may help lower your risk of heart disease, but how it works isn't completely clear.

Phytochemicals found in the skin and the seeds of grapes used to make wine may help prevent several forms of cancer and provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, too.

Scientists don't know enough to offer definitive advice, so if you don't drink, protecting your heart isn't a reason to start. Alcohol won't provide heart disease prevention benefits if the rest of your eating plan is high in fat and calories.

Remember, other lifestyle habits - such as healthful eating, regular exercise, not smoking, and keeping a healthy weight - offer the most protection against heart disease.

From The Vitamin Lady
by Lynn Hinderliter CN, LDN

Proanthocyanidins is not a snappy word, I agree, but it is one we would do well to know and pay attention to, particularly when it comes to its presence or absence in our diets! These are the molecules which are responsible for the pigmentation in the fruits and vegetables we eat, the carrots, the broccoli, the berries and grapes. it is present in high concentrations in red wine and red grape juice.

Most of us are familiar with the term "the French Paradox". This refers to the surprise of dietitians and scientists when confronted with the fact that, although the French in many cases eat diets which are extremely high in fat, the rate of heart disease and cancer does not reflect this excess. Many scientists have now come to believe that the flavonoids (of which Proanthocyanidins are one) in red wine provide the antioxidants which give this unexpected protection.

Dr. John Folts M.D., at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, has been focusing on the connection between grapes and heart disease. His research has suggested that grapes may have a more protective anti-clotting effect than aspirin - the figures showed that aspirin and red wine both had anti-clotting activity of 45%, but then went on to show a whopping 75% effect from ordinary grape juice!

This is great news, because while no one wants to be encouraging people to drink regular amounts of alcohol for fear that they might succumb to the negative effects that alcohol sometimes has, the beneficial effects of these substances cannot be denied. Now, we have many alternatives: we can eat plenty of grapes (be aware that commercial grapes are likely to be contaminated with many different pesticides, so wash them well!), make our own grape juice, buy commercial grape juice, take capsules of grape extracts, take capsules of red wine extract, or drink moderate amounts of red wine.

The antioxidants these fruits contain have other potential benefits besides the effect on blood clotting: they protect collagen and elastin in the skin, and we are now seeing some cosmetic creams containing Pycnogenol, for example. I have tried one, and found it very effective. They also stabilize capillary walls, helping with micro-circulation, and showing possible benefits for varicose veins. A Dutch study followed 552 men for 15 years, tracking the incidence of stroke and correlating that with their intake of flavonoids. He found that men with the highest intake of flavonoids had 73% fewer strokes than men with low intake. (This being a Dutch study, the sources of the flavonoids were black tea and apples).

There has recently been much anecdotal evidence about the effect Proanthocyanidins have on allergies, a use for them that is already widespread in Europe: they appear to block the production of histamine and to the extent that allergies are involved in ADHD, this may provide a possible explanation for their successful use in that problem.

PYCNOGENOL - OR, PINING FOR THE GRAPE Before getting into the "meat" of my text, let me explain that the interesting substance I am going to write about is the subject of considerable controversy, because it is available from two sources, the French Maritime Pine, and Grape Seeds, both developed by Dr. Masquelier. Much of the impressive research, however, has been done using the Pine source. I leave it to you, therefore, to decide whether to go for the proven but more expensive Pycnogenol, or the less proven, less expensive but frequently effective grape seed extract, also sometimes called OPCs. A third option has recently become available, called Activin, also from red grapes.

To this add a fourth, called Resveratrol. There is some impressive research being done with respect to its effect on cancer cells. In fact, Cancer Research published a study in its July 2000 issue showed that Resveratrol also helps cancer cells be more receptive to chemotherapy.

More recently, researchers reported that Resveratrol is converted in the body to a known anti-cancer agent that can selectively target and destroy cancer cells. Although previous studies have suggested that this phytoestrogen might prevent cancer, they said it was the first time that scientists had gained an insight into the underlying mechanism of the chemical's anticancer properties. Resveratrol is a defensive molecule against fungus in grapes and other crops, and is found at higher levels in those which have not been treated with man-made fungicides.

Resveratrol is now being shown in animal studies to be beneficial in protecting against injury from stroke - see the study in RESOURCES at right.

A group of FFH Program scientists led by Dr. John Pezzuto in the College of Pharmacy at the UIC campus have recently shown that Resveratrol is one of a group of compounds (called phytoalexins) that are produced in plants during times of environmental stress such as adverse weather or insect, animal or pathogenic attack. Resveratrol has been identified in more than 70 species of plants, including mulberries and peanuts. Grapes, however are particularly good sources. Resveratrol is found in the skin (not flesh) of grapes. Fresh grape skin contains about 50 to 100 micrograms of Resveratrol per gram, while red wine concentrations range from 1.5 to 3 milligrams per liter. This compound is also thought to be responsible, in part, for the cholesterol-lowering effects of red wine and may also explain why those consuming a Mediterranean-type diet (of which red wine consumption is characteristic) may have a reduced risk of heart disease.

In the current study, Pezzuto and colleagues were able to show that Resveratrol was effective during all three phases of the cancer process: initiation, promotion and progression. Resveratrol was found to have antioxidant and antimutagenic activity and also increased levels of the phase II drug-metabolizing enzyme quinone reductase, an enzyme capable of metabolically detoxifying carcinogens, thereby ridding them from the body. All three of these physiological effects are indicative of Resveratrol preventing cancer initiation--the initial, irreversible stage of the cancer process. Resveratrol also demonstrated antiinflammatory effects and inhibited the activity of the cyclooxygenase and hydroperoxidase enzymes (suggestive of antipromotion activity) in addition to causing the differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia cells, indicating that this compound may also depress the progression phase of cancer. Finally, Resveratrol inhibited the development of preneoplastic lesions in mouse mammary glands treated with a carcinogen in culture and inhibited tumor formation in mice. No toxic effects were observed.

The researchers found that Resveratrol is processed by the enzyme CYP1B1, which is found in a variety of different tumors. This converts Resveratrol into piceatannol, a closely related phytoestrogen with known anticancer activity. Resveratrol was found to have antioxidant and antimutagenic activity and also increased levels of the phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes that are capable of metabolically detoxifying carcinogens, thereby ridding them from the body. All three of these physiological effects are indicative of Resveratrol preventing cancer initiation -- the initial, irreversible stage of the cancer process. Resveratrol also demonstrated antiinflammatory effects and inhibited the activity of the cyclooxygenase and hydroperoxidase enzymes (suggestive of antipromotion activity) in addition to causing the differentiation of human promyelocytic leukemia cells, indicating that this compound may also depress the progression phase of cancer.

British Journal of Cancer 2002;5.

What these various sources have in common is a high concentration of a form of Flavonoids called Proanthocyanidins. These are the substances which make your fruits and vegetables the colorful foods that they are, but more important than the visual are the health benefits. The first flavonoids were identified by Nobel prize winner Dr. Albert Szent Gyorgi in 1936. He discovered and identified Vitamin C, and determined that the flavonoids assisted Vitamin C in its task of supporting the integrity of blood vessel walls, preventing damage to the endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels.

Much of the most recent research into Pycnogenol has focused on its role in circulation: in May of this year, for example, a study by Dr. Hans Ruve was presented to the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology showing that Pycnogenol "significantly" reduced platelet aggregation , which is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. It was particularly effective in protecting smokers, as shown by Dr. Watson at Arizona University: smoking can aggravate a tendency to platelet aggregation. Since Pycnogenol is also an extremely effective antioxidant and free radical scavenger, this may be an important protective supplement for people who cannot stop smoking.

Dr. Ruve also found that Pycnogenol had an inhibitory effect on angiotensin converting enzyme: this enzyme is involved in constricting blood vessels, a key factor in high blood pressure. This is very interesting to me, since it is the first direct link between eating more fruits and vegetables, and lowering blood pressure. For years there have been studies that show a positive effect from changing one's diet and lowering blood pressure, but now we know WHY it works! See RESOURCES at right.

Pycnogenol and Alzheimer's Disease: some research is under way showing that the formation of a toxic protein (beta amyloid) which is present in Alzheimer patients is inhibited. Dr. Packer in his studies is finding o that Pycnogenol regulates Nitric Oxide production, excessive amounts of which also play a part in A.D.

Pycnogenol, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue syndrome: it has been noted that in these conditions the mitochondria of the cells are damaged. Pycnogenol's free radical quenching properties make it of particular benefit, since it can cross the blood/ brain barrier . Dr. Martin, D.C in Ontario Canada uses doses of from 200 to 400 mg daily, and finds it brings a decrease in symptoms in from 3 to 6 weeks.

Pycnogenol and inflammation: since Pycnogenol reduces the production of histamine and promotes microcirculation it can be very helpful both for joint problems, and for athletic injuries. Inflammation can also be a result of excessive Nitric Oxide radicals produced by white blood cells - see comment on Alzheimer's above.

Pycnogenol and Cancer: Dr. Packer is doing research at Berkeley that shows Pycnogenol interacts with DNA at a very basic, transcription level. This is going to be interesting research to watch, since cancer at its simplest is cells running amuck. If regulating this process at an early stage could be a part of the cure - what a boon to mankind this would be! Factors in Pycnogenol have also been shown in some tests to inhibit the formation , and in some cases reverse the growth of, certain tumors.

Pycnogenol and Aging: Dr. Arnold Fox, M.D. points out that the most common theory of aging is accumulated damage from free radicals and oxidative stress. This causes such problems as cataracts, retinal degeneration, coronary heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, diabetes mellitus type 11. He says "Pycnogenol is a very strong antioxidant and free radical quencher, perhaps the strongest one discovered. As an antioxidant it is 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C. Furthermore, - it - is able to cross the blood/brain barrier and get into the brain to extend its beneficial effects in reducing the ravages of aging on the brain".

A study presented at the 54th Annual Meeting for the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (16th World Congress on Fertility and Sterility) showed that Pycnogenol - the study used maritime pine bark - may have an effect on sperm health. Dr. S. Roseff (West Essex center for Advanced Reproductive Endocrinology, West Orange N.J.) had 4 sub fertile men with high numbers of deformed sperm in a low overall sperm count take daily supplements of Pycnogenol. After 3 months, the percentage of structurally normal sperm increased by an average of 99% while the sperm count and activity remained the same.

As I have said many times before, no pill in and of itself is going to take the place of a better diet. In other words, please don't expect to be able to continue eating an inadequate diet, thinking one pill will make the difference between sickness and health. However, for people who have already developed health conditions of the types mentioned above, or who wish to take out some extra insurance, these new extracts of Proanthocyanidins certainly appear to have a lot going for them, and adding more of those colorful fruits and vegetables will help, too.

From The USDA
Grapes, American type (slip skin), raw
Scientific Name:     Vitis spp.

NDB No:     09131 
1 cup / 92 grams 

Water g 74.80
Energy kcal 62
Energy kj 258
Protein g 0.58
Total lipid (fat) g 0.32
Ash g 0.52
Carbohydrate g 15.78
Fiber, total dietary g 0.8
Sugars, total g 14.95
Calcium, Ca mg 13
Iron, Fe mg 0.27
Magnesium, M mg 5
Phosphorus, P mg 9
Potassium, K mg 176
Sodium, Na mg 2
Zinc, Zn mg 0.04
Copper, Cu mg 0.037
Manganese, Mn mg 0.661
Selenium, Se mcg 0.1
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 3.7
Thiamin mg 0.085
Riboflavin mg 0.052
Niacin mg 0.276
Pantothenic acid mg 0.022
Vitamin B-6 mg 0.101
Folate, total mcg 4
Folic acid mcg 0
Folate, food mcg 4
Folate, DFE mcg_DFE 4
Vitamin B-12 mcg 0.00
Vitamin A, IU IU92
Vitamin A, RAE mcg_RAE 5
Retinol mcg 0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) mg 0.17
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) mcg 13.4
Fatty acids, total saturated g 0.105
4:0 g 0.000
6:0 g 0.000
8:0 g 0.000
10:0 g 0.000
12:0 g 0.000
14:0 g 0.003
16:0 g 0.090
18:0 g 0.012
Fatty acids, monounsaturated g0.013
16:1 undifferentiated g 0.000
18:1 undifferentiated g 0.013
20:1 g 0.000
22:1 undifferentiated g 0.000
Fatty acids, polyunsaturated g 0.094
18:2 undifferentiated g 0.073
18:3 undifferentiated g 0.022
18:4 g 0.000
20:4 undifferentiated g 0.000
20:5 n-3 g 0.000
22:5 n-3 g 0.000
22:6 n-3 g 0.000
Cholesterol mg 0
Amino acids  
Tryptophan g 0.003
Threonine g 0.016
Isoleucine g 0.005
Leucine g 0.012
Lysine g 0.013
Methionine g 0.019
Cystine g 0.009
Phenylalanine g 0.012
Tyrosine g 0.010
Valine g 0.016
Arginine g 0.042
Histidine g 0.021
Alanine g 0.024
Aspartic acid g 0.071
Glutamic acid g 0.121
Glycine g 0.017
Proline g 0.019
Serine g 0.028
Carotene, beta mcg 54
Carotene, alpha mcg 1
Lutein + zeaxanthin mcg 66

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