(Family Features) The importance of health and wellness is top of mind for many people. There are many contributing factors to wellness such as diet, physical activity, social engagement and genetics. All are important, but a first step to wellness is choosing healthy foods to fuel the body every day, ideally foods that support health in multiple ways.
Consider grapes from California: they are convenient, healthy, hydrating and provide energy to help support healthy and active lifestyles. Eating grapes is also linked to beneficial impacts on the health of specific body parts and systems, including the heart, brain, skin and colon.
Most of grapes’ health benefits are attributed to the presence of natural plant compounds known as polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and influence biological processes that support overall health. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are natural sources of polyphenols.
Fresh California grapes are refreshing by the handful, but they also lend a tasty burst of flavor to a wide range of recipes you can enjoy any time of day. This Heart Smart Smoothie is a deliciously healthy way to start the day; pairing grapes with nuts and seeds in No-Bake Energy Bites delivers a hearty snack to enjoy midday, after school or following a workout; and Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad is perfect at any mealtime for a powerful combo of both taste and health.
Grapes and a Healthy Brain
Research suggests regularly eating grapes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may contribute to improved health outcomes, including brain health.
In a study of people with early memory decline published in “Experimental Gerontology,” subjects were either fed whole grape powder equivalent to just 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day or a placebo powder. The results showed consuming grapes preserved healthy metabolic activity in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold.
Subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in attention and working memory performance.
Find more nutritious recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com .
No-Bake Energy Bites
Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 energy bites
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice or lemon juice
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 8 seedless California grapes
- 1/3 cup chia or hemp seeds
- In bowl of food processor, pulse almonds and walnuts 5-6 times to coarsely chop. Add dates and process until mixture is finely chopped. Add juice and process until just combined; transfer mixture to small plate.
- Dry grapes. Pack 1 tablespoon date mixture around each grape, completely covering to seal. Repeat with remaining grapes and date mixture.
- Roll balls in seeds to coat. Store in covered container in refrigerator up to three days.
Nutritional information per energy bite: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (53% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.
Heart Smart Grape and Peanut Butter Smoothie
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 1 cup red California grapes, chilled
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice cubes
- 1/2 small banana
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 teaspoons cacao powder
- In blender on high speed, blend grapes, almond milk, ice, banana, peanut butter, flax seed and cacao powder until smooth.
Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 8 g protein; 53 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (36% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.
Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup white quinoa
- 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
- 1 1/4 cups red California grapes, halved
- 3 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 2 ripe avocados, diced 1/3 inch
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions and drain on two layers of paper towels. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, grapes, scallions and avocado pieces.
- To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture and toss gently. Season with pepper, to taste.
Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 5 g protein; 27 g carbo hydrates; 16 g fat (55% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.
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