Do grapes with seeds improve digestion and ulcerative colitis?
Grapes are in season; Have you seen that most grapes on the shelves are seedless. Yes, I admit chewing delicious black muscatel grapes with crunchy and slightly astringent seeds may not be the best cheese accompaniment. Hear me out; there are good reasons to celebrate food nature as intended. Grapes are truly a medicinal sweet packet of joy.
Why should we enjoy grapes with seeds in them? In my clinical practice, I love using food as medicine because people can practice healthy eating every day. I follow the research to empower my clients to practice healthy choices daily and want achievable, manageable action steps along the way. Imagine there is delicious food that will help regulate blood sugar and our weight. What if there is a food that helps build and maintain better digestion and tastes good? Having whole foods daily is empowering because we choose to be proactive in our health, building vitality, energy and resilience because life is to be enjoyed.
I love nourishing our body with medicinal foods that help build our best health daily. Grapes are a superhero food, sweet, juicy snacks that provide antioxidants to support our digestion and reduce the risks of chronic diseases. Have you noticed that most of the grapes on the shelves sold in your supermarket have no seeds?
Eating grapes with seeds helps increase keystone beneficial gut bacteria in our gut. Like Akkermansia muciniphila, shown in clinical experience and research to resolve urinary tract infections. Proanthocyanidins (PA) help improve inflammation and infection in our stomach and urinary tract. These anti-inflammatory effects are evident with studies on Cranberry supplementation. Proanthocyanidins help build resilience against inflammation, cardiovascular disease, peptic ulcer and microbial infections and diabetes.
Polyphenols and proanthocyanidins (PA) are natural antioxidants chemicals found in grape seeds. Research shows that these plant-based chemicals found in grape seeds help reduce chronic disease. Have you ever tasted herbal medicine that seems to eat up the saliva in your mouth? Having an astringent, almost sour tasting effect, this is a sign of plant medicine with high polyphenol content. Think about slightly sour red fruits like Davidsons Plum or the herb of five flavours Schisandra Chinensis, perfect examples of sour-tasting herbs with high polyphenol content.
How do grape seeds start to work in our digestive system?
We know that there are many different environmental changes throughout our digestion. In our stomach, we enjoy an acid environment to start protein and fat digestion. Other enzymes help break down and absorb nutrients starting from our mouth right through to the colon. It appears that what grape seeds do to support our digestion is reduce inflammation, pain and improve lymphatic health.
Grapes with seeds also may help reduce damage to our stomach cells and mucus lining prevent stomach ulcers associated with drugs like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
Our digestive system is a dense network of lymphatic tissue responsible for immune health, digestion and detoxification. To support our digestion and surrounding lymphatic tissue, especially in conditions like chronic constipation, diarrhoea, after travellers diarrhoea or tummy up-set in children, we need to reduce inflammation and build a rich and diverse microbiome.
Grapes and their seeds help our gut bacteria.
Grape Seeds contain procyanidins which perform a superhero role in quenching free radicals and cell damage. Put out the fire and increase cell repair. Grape Seeds act on the carbohydrate enzyme, amylase activity in our mouth. Action on carbohydrate absorption starts right from the get-go and could help reduce plaque-forming bacteria in the mouth. Most of the movement of grape seeds takes place in the colon, though. Whole foods contain different amounts of PA.
There is an intriguing relationship between polyphenols and our microbiome. It seems that PA can change the composition of our gut bacteria and the chemicals our bacteria produce. Changing our gut bacteria performance is like making our engine run smooth and reducing systemic inflammation.
Blood sugar metabolism and cholesterol reduction
- Increase richness and diversity of keystone bacteria reducing inflammation, improving digestion and nutrient absorption.
- Help reduce LDL (our unhealthy cholesterol) oxidation and damage to our cells caused by cholesterol ‘rust’.
- Help reduce blood clotting risks, support regulation of heart rhythm, and improving blood vessel narrowing.
- Supports glucose and blood sugar metabolism, helping with weight reduction.
- Has intense action against Escherichia coli, which is a common cause of urinary tract infections.
- Grape polyphenols help improve metabolic syndrome, weight gain and increase A. Muciniphila keystone antioxidant gut bacteria.
Foods high in procyanidin antioxidants
Antioxidants, are blueberries and grapes the same?
Surprisingly grape seeds have higher total polyphenol content (44%) than blueberries (14-27%); whole fruits can vary in their antioxidant content. I love this because grapes are more affordable, and swap between grapes or blueberries to increase our daily antioxidant foods. Interesting that the more mature the fruit, the higher the antioxidant content. A small amount of black grapes daily long term has better health benefits for improving immune health and digestion than feasting on many grapes short term.
Improving conditions like ulcerative colitis and parasite infections; symptoms are managed well with the right foods to reduce inflammation and build immune health. There are fantastic foods that help support our digestion, reduce inflammation to manage conditions like Ulcerative Colitis effectively. Our digestive health is so important because we absorb our nutrients through our gut. Nutrients provide energy, cell repair, reduce oxidative wear and tear. The microbiome tops up our brain chemicals, supporting happiness, vitality, health and wellbeing.
One common digestive health issue I work with almost every week is parasite infection. Some parasites are more common in, say, sub-tropical climates and can come from our water, including Dientamoeba fragilis and Blastocystis hominis. These infections can be commensal when we experience healthy digestion; that is, we live with the parasites without digestive symptoms. The best strategy is to enjoy beautiful whole foods as nature intended to heal our digestive system and build immunity.
Grapes with seeds help reduce inflammation, bloating, stomach pain and improve energy with conditions like parasite infections. We want to enjoy grapes with seeds is for their antioxidant effect; the seeds contain plant chemicals is to support better digestion. Foods high in procyanidins also alter some of our gut bacteria chemical messages to reduce bloating and manage infection. Just enjoying a handful of purple grapes with seeds daily is a burst of flavour, a healthy snack and a beautiful step towards better digestion.
Would you like to know more about improving digestive health, having more energy and enjoying life without symptoms? Book in for a Discovery chat today to explore simple, effective ways to improve energy and digestive health.
Original author Alison Millican, Lighthouse Naturopathy.