Red Grapes and Cancer

Grape is one of the most cultivated fruits in the world, with 68 million tons produced in 2010. In term of production, it comes right behind citrus fruits (124 million), bananas (102 million) and apples (70 million). Grapes come in the form of clusters composed of many grains, which are small size and light-colored for white grapes (greenish, yellowish, golden yellow), or darker to red (purple, pink or dark-purple) for red grapes.

This is one of the most ancient fruits, and it is very healthy. Grapes are mainly used to make wine from their fermented juice, but are also eaten as fruit, either fresh (table grapes), or dried (raisins), which are mainly used in baking or cooking. The fruit is also used to make juice, which most people love drinking. Some producers also extract oil from the seeds (grape seed oil).

Anticancer Nutrients of Grapes

Grape juice, as well as raisins, is an excellent source of manganese, which is ideal for the health of both men and women. Fresh grapes are a source of copper, Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and vitamin C.  Raisins, however, provide the body with important minerals such as iron, potassium, and phosphorus. When it come to fighting cancer, the choice of the color is very important.

Red Grapes More Antioxidants than Green

If your intention is to fight cancer, prevention of development or progression of cancer cells, it is better to consume red grape which has about 2 times more antioxidant than green grapes. Indeed, red grapes contain a higher amount of anthocyanins, phenolic antioxidant compounds that give them their color. In addition to the anthocyanin content, no other significant difference was observed between red grapes and green grapes. Although it would be superfificial to claim grapes heal cancer, ignoring its properties to fighting the disease would be unconscionable.

Grapes and Cancer Treatment

Grape juice consumption would have a protective effect against cancer. A study conducted in rats showed a reduction in the proliferation of malignant cells of the mammary gland and decreased tumor weight according to the administered dose of grape juice. In addition, three in vitro studies have shown a protective effect of red grape juice against colon cancer and cancers of the white blood cells: leukemia and lymphoma, for example. However, further studies are needed to determine how these effects may occur in humans. As for now, scientists in different parts of the world are conducting research on grapes and breast cancer.

On the other hand, other research on people undergoing chemotherapy found that drinking grape juice can decrease the incidence of nausea and vomiting. However, other studies are needed to confirm this effect.

Grapes and Cancer Prevention

Researchers of Illinois University have discovered in grapes ten new flavonoids, which would give the fruit a greater anticancer activity than that attributed to it until now. The results of a series of in vitro studies indicate that these flavonoids have the effect of inhibiting the activity of an enzyme, topoisomerase II, which plays an essential role in the development of cancer, and associate with chemotherapy resistance in certain cancers such as gastric cancer. In fact, in conventional medicine anthracycline (a cytotoxic antibiotic chemotherapy medication) and etoposide (another cytotoxic anticancer drug), synthetic inhibitors of topoisomerase II, are used to treat certain cancers, including Hodgkin’s disease.

In chemotherapy, topoisomerase II inhibitor drugs are given to patients to counteract the proliferation of cancer cells or suppress tumors. The fact they are synthetic, anthracycline and etoposide can cause serious side effects. The inhibiting effects of grapes, however, work safely even in children, causing no adverse reactions.

One of the researchers, Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, notes that various flavonoids grapes work synergistically to produce the anti-cancer effect; in other words, their joint activity is greater than that of each of them alone. She states “it is probably best to eat grapes instead of taking extracts which do not necessarily contain all the flavonoids that are found naturally in fresh fruits.”

Some new flavonoids isolated in grapes include cyanidins, procyanidins, myricetin, and rutin (also called rutoside, quercetin-3-O-rutinoside and sophorin). The results of the studies indicate that the anticancer activity thereof is greater than that of resveratrol, another grape component which has already been assigned chemoprophylactic properties: prevention of cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Their effects are also more powerful than those of green tea polyphenols.

As of today, there many studies going on grapes and prostate cancer, grapes and colon cancer, grapes and pancreatic cancer, but no conclusive results have been released yet. The smart thing to do is to consume the fruit abundantly.


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