Grapes: They're Good for Your Heart (and Your Head)

flickr/pearsongraphicsIf you remember that adorable little girl in the Welch's grape juice ad telling you that "purple is the color of things that are very special," then you'll be happy to learn that now there's scientific proof behind her statement.

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Among the growing amount of research that promotes the presence of Concord grapes and grape juice in healthy lifestyles, two recently published scientific papers report that Concord grapes, the purple and red grapes used to make Welch's grape juice, can have positive effects on cardiovascular and cognitive health.

Further research, published by the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, also outlines the positive benefits that grape juice can have on cognitive health. The paper reports on a study conducted by Robert Krikorian, Ph.D., and his colleagues at the University of Cincinnati that found Concord grape juice helps to stop mild memory loss. The paper concludes that a daily intake of grape juice will greatly benefit older adults who suffer from early cognitive decline.

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While the studies bring some positive diet trends to light, they also highlight the lack of presence that dark produce, such as Concord grapes, have in every day diets. Welch's grape expert and Health and Nutrition lead Casey Lewis comments:

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"These two new scientific papers emphasize the role colorful produce, including dark purple Concord grapes, can play in a healthy diet. However, despite the evidence linking colorful produce to health, many people aren't getting enough fruits and vegetables in their day. In particular, most of us fall short on blue and purple fruits and vegetables, which only account for 3 percent of total produce intake."

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With the results of these new studies, it's now more important than ever to introduce grapes and grape juice into your diet. "To help boost heart-healthy purple in your diet, you can make smoothies with 100 percent grape juice made with Concord grapes, freeze 100 percent grape juice in paper cups or ice-cube trays for a tasty treat, or try a colorful recipe using grapes and grape juice," says Lewis.

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Tangy Grape BBQ Meatballs Recipe

Little meatballs are everyone's favorite! Serve these as a party appetizer or for a buffet, or spoon them over brown rice for dinner.


For the meatballs:
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
1/2 cup very finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup Welch's 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
For the sauce:
3/4 cup Welch's 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon minced onion

For the meatballs:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 10-by-17-by-1-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix the turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, grape juice, and mustard until well blended. Moisten your hands and shape the turkey mixture into 1-inch balls. (It is important to make them all the same size so that they cook evenly.) Place the meatballs on the prepared pan so that they do not touch. Bake the meatballs 10 to 12 minutes or until cooked through.

For the sauce:
In a large skillet, combine the grape juice, ketchup, mustard, and onion. Bring to a simmer. Add the cooked metablls and stir gently until the meatballs are coated with the sauce. Simmer 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Recipe Details
Servings: 2
Cuisine: American

Notes and Substitutions:
Nutrional information per serving: 100 cal; 3.5 g fat; 1 g saturated fat; 10 g protein; 10 g carbs; 15 mg cholesterol; 260 mg sodium; 0 g fiber

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-Anne Dolce, The Daily Meal