Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Grapes--A Triathlete's Friend or Foe?

Grapes are available year round now thanks to international shipping (grapes from Chile, anyone? They are no longer some kind of exotic delicacy!) But recently in CA, they've finally become affordable. And by affordable, we're talking 99 cents a pound. Rich in antioxidants, crunchy and delicious, grapes seem to be the perfect snacking food for healthy people. Like carrots, only sweet and jucy and you get to pluck them off of a vine.


They are fun to eat and oh so yummy. Grape juice is touted as an excellent recovery food--it's high in carbs. So how could this little fruity orb of perfection ever be bad for you? Here is how the magnificent grape can be your friend and you foe at any given moment. Kind of like sibling.

Grapes=Friend:Happy grapes

  • Grapes contain flavinoids, which are phytonutrients that give grapes their pretty purple color--the darker the color, the more flavinoids there are (i.e. for most benefit, skip the green and go for the purple grapes!!!) Flavinoids have compounds that reduce the risk of heart disease! (Hence the "A glass of red wine a day keeps the doctor away" theory.)

  • grapes and stuff made from grapes (grape juice, wine...) help reduce the occurrence of blood clots

  • grapes increase plasma antioxidant activity

  • grapes can lower your cholesterol

  • grapes can improve blood flow to the brain (feeling a bit daft lately? Have some grapes!)

  • grapes can help with hypertension

  • grapes just help your whole cardiovascular system--the one you've been putting to the test daily--a ton. Eat your grapes!

For more on how grapes are your friends, click here.

Grapes = Foe Grapes of Wrath

  • grapes have a laxative effect. They are high in fiber, and because of their handy neat natural little packaging, it's easy to eat an entire bag or two before you know it! And if you're one of those people for whom the adage "Running makes you Regular" holds true, you might be running to every available toilet for the next few days after your grape attack.

  • grapes can make you bloated. They are very high in water, and eating a bunch of them can make you feel all roly poly and not to mention gassy. Not a good feeling before a workout. Depending on how much you love grapes, this feeling can hang over until tomorrow. So if you've got a long run on Saturday, get your grape fix on Thursday or before or you'll be sorry!

So there you have it. Grapes are awesome. They're crunchy, delicious, nutritious, and fun. Just don't eat too many before a workout (even a few days before), or you'll be cursing the existence of places like Napa Valley while you're desperately trying to find a tree nobody will see your bum behind on your next run.


Happy snacking!

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