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The Health Benefits of Grapes & Blueberries

By Sylvie Tremblay, MSc

A part of the fruit food group, grapes and blueberries both contribute to the 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit recommended each day, according to USDA guidelines. In addition to their relatively low calorie content, a cup of grapes and blueberries contains 104 and 84 calories, respectively. Blueberries and grapes share common health benefits, thanks to their similar nutrient content. Include both foods in your diet as sources of vitamin K, and of beneficial antioxidants.

Vitamin K

Grapes and blueberries both boost your intake of vitamin K, which is an essential nutrient. Your body relies on vitamin K to support healthy blood coagulation, or clotting, which is a process needed to reduce blood loss after tissue damage. Vitamin K also activates enzymes within your cells, and its role in enzyme activation supports bone health and aids in new cell development. A cup of blueberries offers 28.6 milligrams of vitamin K, which makes up 23 and 32 percent of the daily vitamin K requirements for men and women, respectively. Grapes contain slightly less vitamin K, at 22 micrograms per cup. This provides 18 percent of the daily vitamin K needs for men and 24 percent for women.

Anthocyanin Content

Blueberries and grapes owe their rich colors to their anthocyanin content. Anthocyanins offer antioxidant protection for your tissues. Because oxidative damage -- the type of cellular damage prevented by antioxidants -- plays a role in cancer development, heart disease and other chronic diseases, consuming anthocyanins might help lower your risk of disease. Anthocyanins help slow tumor growth and prevent angiogenesis -- the growth of new blood vessels to fuel cancer development -- notes the Pennington Nutrition Series, a publication released by the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. Anthocyanins might also combat heart disease and neurodegenerative disorders.

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Beneficial Resveratrol

Grapes and blueberries also offer some health benefits because of their resveratrol content. Like anthocyanins, resveratrol acts as an antioxidant, guarding against cellular damage. While more research is needed to learn how effectively it works, resveratrol also has potential anti-cancer activities. It helps promote healthy cell growth, works to minimize your cells' exposure to carcinogens and fights inflammation that would otherwise contribute to cancer development.

Serving Tips and Suggestions

Berries and grapes both offer versatility in the kitchen. Try adding blueberries to hot or cold cereal, or bake the blueberries, along with a mixture oats, non-fat milk and egg whites, for healthful, baked oatmeal. You can add a handful of blueberries to fruit smoothies or you can combine blueberries, spinach, chopped veggies and a honey-mustard vinaigrette for a sweet, flavorful salad. Enjoy grapes raw as a snack on their own or freeze them for a refreshing treat during the warmer months. Experiment with adding sliced grapes to tuna or chicken salads, or use them in sandwiches and wraps.

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