Make a heart-healthy menu with flavorful fruit
Courtesy California Table Grape Commission
Heart-healthy foods can play a role in healthy aging. Whether you enjoy them by the handful as a refreshing snack or use them to add color, crunch and a touch of sweetness to a meal, grapes are a heart-healthy option that make eating better easy.
Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols. At just 90 calories per serving, they also contain no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium.
With a juicy burst of flavor, grapes show how simple it can be to make good-for-you-dishes that also taste great. Even though California grapes are a snacking staple in most kitchens, you may not realize how versatile they can be for cooking. For example, grapes add a sweet touch to a crunchy yogurt salad and complement the bold spice on a skewer of grilled shrimp. Fresh, flavorful grapes even put a tangy, fresh twist on a soothing glass of iced tea.
Zahtar Shrimp and Grape Kabobs
2 tablespoons zahtar
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
36-40 large shrimp (about 2 pounds), shelled and deveined
1 cup whole green grapes
1 cup whole red grapes
In medium bowl, combine zahtar, garlic, thyme, vinegar, honey, salt, pepper and olive oil. Whisk to combine. Add shrimp and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.
Thread shrimp and grapes onto skewers. Heat grill or grill pan to medium-high.
Grill skewers, turning once, until shrimp are lightly charred and cooked through and grapes are caramelized but firm, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Nutritional information per serving: 190 calories; 20 g protein; 12 g carbohydrate; 6 g fat (28% calories from fat); 1 g saturated fat (5% calories from saturated fat); 180 mg cholesterol; 870 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Sparkling Hibiscus Tea with Grapes and Mint
6 cups water, divided
1 tablespoon honey
6 hibiscus tea bags
2 cups green grapes, divided
10 mint leaves
1 navel orange, sliced
16 ounces sparkling water
Using tea kettle or saucepan, bring 3 cups water and honey to boil. Add tea bags, turn off heat and steep 6-8 minutes. Remove tea bags and allow remaining liquid to cool 15 minutes.
In martini shaker or bowl, muddle 1 cup grapes with mint leaves. Add muddled grape and mint mixture to 48-60 ounce pitcher along with remaining water and orange slices. Stir in hibiscus tea mixture. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Strain before serving.
To serve, add ice to 8-ounce glass. Top with 3-4 grapes, 2 ounces sparkling water and hibiscus tea mixture.
Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 1 g protein; 16 g carbohydrate; 10 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.
Grapes and Brain Health
A grape-enriched diet helped protect against metabolic brain decline in Alzheimer’s-related areas of the brain, according to research from the University of California-Los Angeles. The pilot study, funded by the California Table Grape Commission, was conducted among people with early memory decline and showed that subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in cognition and working memory performance, according to a report published by Experimental Gerontology.