The science of grapes


You may have heard red wine is healthy. Although experts debate that, nobody debates the age defying properties of the grapes it is made from. Grapes are one of the fruit world’s richest sources of phytochemicals (see Why Nutraceuticals Matter), including the standout molecule resveratrol, which implies eating them outright should be enough. Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Up to 70% of a grape’s phytochemicals are in its seeds, which people spit out. Most of the rest are in the skin and stems. Even if you are organised enough to buy a bunch a day, eating grapes only delivers a fraction of their benefit.

However, winemakers can still help. Every year, vineyards press millions of tons of grapes, and throw away the skins and seeds. In the last two decades, the health potential of this residue has been recognised. Today, some of the best is freeze dried and turned into supplements.

Such extracts are potent scavengers of free radicals; they up-regulate the antioxidant defence system, and inhibit the enzymes that generate free radicals in the first place. They prevent oxidative damage in laboratory animals such as rats, and have many times the antioxidant power of vitamins C and E.

Each capsule of LifeGuard Essentials contains 75 milligrams of grape seed extract, concentrated down from 9 grams of seeds, and 75 milligrams of red grape skin extract, concentrated from 1.5 grams of skins. It is the perfect compromise: the goodness of skin and seeds, without a wine glass.