Muscadine grapes (Vitus rotundifolia) are part of the Vitaceae family. They are deciduous and vigorous vines that, when out in the wild, can grow to be between 60 and 100 feet in height. The grapes are borne in loose and tiny clusters of between three and 40 grapes. The grapes are between 1 and 1 1/2 inches in length, and have tough, thick skins. When ripe, the grapes can be anything from black to deep purple and bronze in color. There are various different health benefits that are commonly associated with muscadine grapes.
According to research conducted by Mississippi State University, muscadine grapes (the pulp and the skins) are excellent sources of vital nutrients, including essential minerals, dietary fiber (more so than even rice bran and oats) and carbohydrates. Muscadine grapes are also very low in fat. The grapes are also good sources for polyphenols, such as resveratrol, which is known to be able to lower blood sugar levels, and also have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Muscadine grapes also function as antioxidants, and can help reduce and prevent damage from dangerous molecules called free radicals (such as wrinkles, fine lines and creases of the complexion). The antioxidants within muscadine grapes protect the body against the stresses of oxidation, which is a natural process. The grapes can help prevent the development of a blood vessel disease known as artherosclerosis, due to its antioxidant properties.
Heart Disease and Cholesterol
As stated before, muscadine grapes contain vast amounts of the polyphenol known as resveratrol, according to research conducted by Mississippi State University's Agricultural Research Service. The resveratrol is contained within the grapes' seeds, pulp and skin. This compound is contained within French wines, and is the same compound that helps to reduce the risk of high cholesterol as well as heart disease.