Search Books:

Join our mailing list:

Bookmark and Share

New Articles

The Mystery Murder Case of the Century
by Robert Tanenbaum

Which Brass Ring for You: Popularity or Success?
by JV Venable

Autistic Students: Are We Asking Them to Do Their Best While They Feel Their Worst?
by Janet Lintala

The Enemy Within
by Jason Riley

by Anna Godbersen

view more>>

Recent Placements

Jeremy Dale
Humility: The X-factor

Sandra Ingerman
Spirituality & Health
How to Design a Successful Ceremony

Arlene Englander
Let Go of Emotional Overeating

August Turak
Inspire Nation
August Turak joins Michael Sandler's Inspire Nation podcast

Sharon Prentice
The Edge
Becoming Starlight

view more>>

Bookmark and Share

View the author's page

The following is an excerpt from the book The Sonoma Diet
by Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D.
Published by Meredith Books; December 2005;$24.95US/$34.95CAN; 0-69622-831-9
Copyright © 2006 Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D.

Grapes: Fruit of the Gods

The Greeks and Romans considered grapes a gift from the gods. And why not? There's something miraculous about a gnarly black vine creating generous clusters of bright pearls of fruit, each bursting with pure goodness.

These ancient southern Europeans appreciated the health-imparting power of grapes themselves. But they positively worshiped the fruit's capacity to convert itself into that most sensuous of nectars -- fine wine.

The Greeks and Romans bequeathed their love of grapes and wine to their modern southern European successors, who turned both into cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet.

Grapes are equally revered in today's Sonoma. There the hillsides are covered with vineyards, their ripening fruit gleaming green and purple in the pre-harvest sun. The Sonoma Diet is indebted to this important part of the Sonoma economy.

Heart Protection
What's wonderful about grapes as a power food is that they deliver virtually all of the nutrients that wine does. That means you'll still reap most of the heart-protective and weight-loss benefits of grapes' abundant phytonutrients even if you cannot (or choose not to) drink a daily glass of wine.

Grapes and wine are a big reason modern researchers got curious about the Mediterranean diet in the first place. Why, they asked, did southern Europeans suffer so few heart attacks even as they ate so richly? A big reason, we know now, is the special potency of the heart-protective nutrients in the grapes and wine they consume so liberally.

The phytonutrients in grapes work to keep your entire cardiovascular system healthy in the usual way. That is, they protect the blood vessels and heart muscle itself from tissue damage by free radicals and the "rusting" they can cause.

It would take an organic chemistry textbook to describe the myriad flavonoids that make grapes such a heart-healthy food. But you've already met the most important one -- resveratrol, the same wonder nutrient that powers blueberries.

While there's actually more resveratrol in blueberries than grapes, the supporting cast in grapes is unbeatable. Because the flavonoids and other antioxidant nutrients work together like a philharmonic orchestra, grapes have achieved elite power-food status.

Whole Food Benefits
They also make a great argument for the whole-foods approach to weight loss. Studies abound confirming the heart-protecting benefits of eating grapes and drinking wine. But the evidence for resveratrol acting alone in supplement form is much skimpier.

Red or purple grapes are richer in flavonoids than the white or green varieties, but we're not going to hold you to that. Grapes of any color are power foods, period.

You won't, however, be able to eat grapes without limits until you reach your weight goal. Their high sugar content puts them on the Tier 2 list, meaning you can enjoy ½ cup of grapes a day starting with Wave 2.

You'll probably want to alternate them with other Tier 2 fruits, but give them priority. Grapes are the very symbol of Sonoma's healthy way of life.

Copyright © 2006 Dr. Connie Guttersen, R.D., Ph.D.