It’s high time to let go of the “grapes of wrath” notion. Instead of contributing to heated emotions like anger and irritation, red grapes generally help reduce them. How so?
Well, red grapes contain resveratrol, an antioxidant present in many plants. Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol called a phytoalexin, a class of compounds produced as part of a plant’s defense system against disease. It helps the plant respond to an invading fungus, stress, injury, infection, or ultraviolet irradiation.1 Inflammation can increase pain and tightness, particularly when it infringes on the nerves. In the lab, resveratrol has been shown to stop certain cells in the body from responding to the precursors of inflammation, suggesting that it could ultimately help fight pain.
As it reduces inflammation, the compound is able to block the enzymes that contribute to tissue degeneration. The evidence: In lab experiments at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, resveratrol protected against the kind of cartilage damage that causes back pain.2 According to other research, eating a moderate amount of grapes on a regular basis can help improve mobility and reduce pain from arthritis. Researchers at the Texas Woman’s University undertook a four-month clinical study into the benefits of grape consumption on inflammation and osteoarthritis. Seventy-two men and women with knee osteoarthritis were assigned to either consume grapes in the form of a whole grape freeze-dried powder or a placebo powder. The findings demonstrated that eating grapes helped alleviate pain from osteoarthritis of the knee and improved joint flexibility and overall mobility. 3
The Ayurvedic Perspective on Grape Consumption
While research has often proposed that drinking red wine is helpful because it too contains resveratrol, as do several other foods, Ayurveda would argue that it is better to consume grapes than red wine if you are trying to prevent pain and inflammation. In addition to the potential for imbalancing the doshas with the regular consumption of wine, red wine can be very heating, and therefore, tends to increase inflammation in the body.
Consuming grapes regularly provides benefits over and above pain reduction acccording to recent research.4 Of course, in Ayurveda, we teach that not everything is right for everyone all of the time. The more Kapha (earth and water) one has in his or her body type, the fewer grapes he should consume since grapes can increase the water element in the body and heighten emotions in those who already have an abundance of water. In contrast, because both doshas tend to need more water, Vatas and Pittas typically benefit from regular grape consumption.
Subsequent research has shown that combining resveratrol with turmeric enhances the ability of both to fight inflammation.5
The sole purpose of this article is to provide information about the tradition of Ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have an acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or email Karen Callahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.