Foods That Lower Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Prevent Cancer – Muscadine Grapes

Muscadine grapes are a natural food source for lowering both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides and also protects against coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and colon cancer.Muscadine grapes are a natural food source for lowering both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, blood pressure, triglycerides and also protects against coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and colon cancer.

Research conducted by ARS horticulturist James B. Magee and Mississippi State nutritionist Betty J. Ector predicts that the muscadine will not only be an alternative crop for growers in the Southeast, but a new health food as well.

Magee and Ector have found significant amounts of resveratrol the compound in French red and white wines that is being touted as an agent for lowering cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease – in the skin, pulp, and seeds of these grapes.

In a study reported January 1997 in Science, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago purified resveratrol from grape sources and showed it to have anticarcinogenic activity, meaning that it inhibits tumor promotion.

Muscadines also contain ellagic acid, a natural organic compound thought to inhibit the start of cancer caused by certain chemicals.

Muscadines are now marketed as juice, jellies, jams, preserves, syrups, and dessert toppings.
In processing muscadines, about 900 to 1,000 pounds of waste come from each ton.

Muscadines have tough, thick skins and yield less juice than other grapes, leaving the skin, pulp, and seeds as waste, or pomace. Some of this is used as fertilizer and livestock feed. But most remains to be disposed of in an environmentally acceptable way.

Betty J. Ector has big plans for the muscadine. In research jointly funded by USDA, the Mississippi State University nutritionist found that a puree of muscadine skins and pulp is an excellent source of resveratrol, dietary fiber, and some essential minerals and is high in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein.

“We found that powdered muscadine puree has more dietary fiber than oat or rice bran,” Ector says. “And we know that high fiber consumption lowers blood pressure, serum triglycerides, and both total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels.

It also protects against coronary heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, and colon cancer.

Soluble fiber has extra benefits for diabetics by delaying glucose absorption and increasing the sensitivity of skeletal muscles to insulin.”

In a study at Mississippi State University in which rats were fed diets containing three levels of powdered muscadine pomace puree, Ector found that those eating the muscadine showed significantly lower LDL cholesterol levels and higher HDL (good) levels than a control group.

Statistics show that French consumers drink a lot of wine and eat a lot of dietary fat, yet have low incidence of coronary heart disease. Researchers say that resveratrol in red wine probably accounts for this.

Resveratrol is a phytochemical in grapes and other plants that helps protect them from attack by pests or diseases.

“If you don’t drink wine, try some jam or a muffin made from muscadines,” says Ector. “They’re an even better source of resveratrol.

One-half serving (2 fluid ounces) of unfiltered muscadine juice, one serving of muscadine jam, one medium muffin, or one-tenth serving of muscadine sauce contains about the same amount of resveratrol as 4 fluid ounces of red wine.

“We’re also trying it as additive to beef patties containing 15 to 20 percent fat,” Ector reports. “Eating foods made with muscadine products is a good way to get a significant amount of resveratrol in the average diet. And they taste great!”

Reference:
Doris Stanley, USDA, Agricultural Research Service. Photo courtesy UDSA, ARS.

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