Grape leaves, which is a popular staple of heart-healthy Mediterranean cuisine, are loaded in minerals and vitamins. Grape leaves are often found in bottles or cans, while raw or fresh grape leaves are best consumed after they are blanched or steamed.
Whether canned or freshly picked from grapevines, grape leaves can provide your body with a wide range of beneficial nutrients, from antioxidants, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium.
To get the health and nutritional benefits of grape leaves, you can turn these tasty leaves into delicious rolls filled with meat, rice, vegetables, or used them in salads.
Health Benefits of Grape Leaves:
1. Anti-inflammatory Properties
Grape leaves are known to be mildly anti-inflammatory and this is based on a rating system that estimates the inflammatory potential of foods and its food combinations.
Chronic inflammation may cause certain disease and illnesses, such as heart disease, some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Other diseases that are a result of inflammation include arthritis and gastrointestinal diseases, including Crohn’s disease.
2. Anti-microbial Antioxidant Properties
Whole grapes are a good source of antioxidants, but as it turns out, grape leaves are rich in anti-microbial and antioxidant compounds as well.
A research which was published in the International Journal of Food Properties in early 2013 compared the antioxidant properties of grape leaves collected in the months of May, August, and September. The study reported that the grape leaves plucked in September had the highest levels of total flavonoids, phenols, stilbenes and flavonols, all of which are known for strong antioxidant properties.
In addition, this study found grape leaf extract to contains antimicrobial activity against Salmonella Infantis, Escherichia coli, Stapylococcus aureus, Bacillus cereus and Campylobacter jejuni.
3. Contains Low Glycemic Load
A single serving of grape leaves is full of nutrients, but has low glycemic load of 1. Monitoring one’s glycemic load is very important, most especially for diabetics, because it measures the effect of food on blood-sugar levels.
A daily total glycemic load target for the average, healthy individual is 100 or less, which makes grape leaves a healthy choice. People with metabolic syndrome or diabetes should aim for a lower number.
4. Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Did you know that there are some plant-based foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids in significant amounts? Chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts and canola oil top the list of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids. But there are also some green leafy vegetables, including grape leaves, that make it to the list as well.
Fresh grape leaves have about 2% fat, a surprisingly large amount for a green vegetable, and that substantial share of fat is omega-3.
5. Natural Remedy for Varicose Veins
A study published in the March 2004 issue of the journal Drugs in R & D examined the effects of red vine leaf extract on transcutanous oxygen pressure, cutaneous micro-circulation and leg edema in both men and women with chronic venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency is a medical condition, in which the veins have trouble pumping blood back to the heart and is characterized by the presence of spider veins, varicose veins, or chronic leg swelling.
The results of the study were promising, in which after the 6-week trial period, patients who received red vine leaf extract reported improved oxygen levels, improved microvascular blood flow and a decrease in leg circumference.
6. Rich in Calcium and Magnesium
Grape leaves are also loaded with magnesium and calcium, along with a number of other health enhancing minerals. Just one ounce provides at least 7% of the daily value for magnesium and 10% of the daily value for calcium.
Both magnesium and calcium are important for bone health. But, this mineral combination also plays an important role in healthy muscle and nerve function.
Nutritional Information of Grape Leaves:
Grape leaves are very low in calories, and has about 14 calories for every five leaves. For your general wellness and health, grape leaves are a good source of nutrients. These includes vitamins C, E, A, K and B6, niacin, iron, riboflavin, fiber, calcium, folate, copper, magnesium and manganese.
A single heart-healthy serving or just 1 cup of grape leaves, has no cholesterol or fat and is very low in sugar and sodium.