History of Muscadines. It’s an American Heirloom Superfruit.
Back in 1584, European seafarers first set foot on the shores of what today is known as Roanoke Island, North Carolina.
Named after the Roanoke Algonquian people who inhabited the area, this fertile haven was home to a wide variety of wildlife never seen before by Europeans.
One specimen which particularly interested those early seafarers was a wild, vine-like plant which bore purple fruits.
The skin was tough, like a berry. But the inside had flesh and pips, like grapes.
So, is the muscadine a grape … or a berry?
Of course, ancient mariners already had some notion of the healthy effects of fruits.
As far back as 1497, the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama gave his sailors citrus juice as protection from scurvy … a vitamin-deficiency illness which greatly affected sailors at that time.
But those original visitors to North Carolina could have had no idea of the healthy molecules which lay hidden in the muscadine fruit they had found. It would take scientists some 500 years to unlock that particular mystery.
All those original sailors knew was that the muscadine seemed like a cross between a berry and grape.
So, which is it? Well, the muscadine looks like a grape. And today’s muscadines are grown in vineyards and produce delicious wines. But, technically speaking, it is actually a berry.
And now scientists are finding that this unique, all American plant has the healthy molecules of both grapes and berries. In fact many people who are interested in natural health refer to the muscadine as a ‘superfruit’.
Antioxidants. Your secret weapon against killer diseases, aging and even wrinkles.
Scientists have discovered that the muscadine is a fantastically powerful source of antioxidants. “So what?” you might ask.
OK. Here’s a real quick ‘three step’ explanation of why antioxidants are important.
1. Free radicals are atoms in your body that are missing an oxygen electron. Those free radicals crash around your body looking for a free electron to pair with. It happens to us all, millions of times every day. Free radicals come from things like processed food, pollution and cigarette smoke.
2. As those free radicals crash around our cells, they cause microscopic cellular and DNA damage. That damage can lead to anything from the most dreaded killer diseases and dementia, thru to accelerated aging and wrinkles.
3. But antioxidants are generous molecules which freely give up oxygen electrons. So the free radicals become stable, calm down and do less damage. Once stabilized, they can be expelled from the body.
What causes those dangerous free radicals? Modern day things like fried and processed foods, sugar, car exhaust fumes and cigarette smoke.
Where do healthy antioxidants come from? Fruit and vegetables.
And what’s the scale of the problem? It’s huge. For example, each puff of exhaled cigarette smoke can contain 100 trillion free radicals!
Everybody in modern society is waging a constant 24/7 war against free radical damage to their health. Scientists call it ‘oxidative stress’. We all need antioxidants. Could the humble muscadine help?
"We’re going to need a bigger gun.” How the muscadine’s extra chromosome makes a big difference.
So if the job of antioxidants is to clear up free radicals - and every one of us is exposed to millions of free radicals a day - then it follows that more antioxidants is better.
Good news. Researchers have found that, pound for pound, the humble American muscadine has more antioxidants than celebrity fruits like acai, mangosteen and pomegranates.
The reason muscadines have so many antioxidants is to protect themselves. Muscadines thrive in humid climates where there are lots of fungal and bacterial attacks. Over time, muscadines developed an extra chromosome to boost their immune system. And they pass the benefits on to you.
For example, as a kid you were probably told that oranges are a rich source of antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C. Well, muscadines have 900% the antioxidant power of oranges!
And American muscadines are almost ten times more potent than European grapes varieties. In fact, muscadine wines can have 100 times more resveratrol than European wines like Pinot Noir!
What’s resveratrol? It’s just one of the antioxidant ‘polyphenols’ that are found in muscadine skin. Scientists say these polyphenols can help to fight aging in general, and specific ailments in particular. Read on for the big picture, and some exciting research links ...
Quote “American heirloom fruits are not only tough, but are believed to have more antioxidants than others like açai berries, mangosteens, pomegranates and goji berries.”
Ashley Cobb, clinical dietician at WakeMed Health & Hospitals
Muscadine skin or seed? They actually have different health benefits.
While antioxidants do a great job of generally mopping up free radicals, muscadines have double health benefits. The seeds are a rich source of Oligomeric Procyanidins … and the skin is rich in resveratrol, ellagic acid, quercetin and other polyphenols.
Here’s the skinny on the health benefits of muscadine seed and muscadine skin:
Muscadine seed has OPC antioxidants for heart health and weight loss.
The seeds of the muscadine are rich in a class of antioxidant known as Oligomeric Procyanidins, abbreviated to OPCs.
The OPCs found in muscadine seeds are similar to the antioxidants found in green tea. These OPCs (and the related terms ‘catechins’ and ‘proanthocyanadin’) have been extensively researched by scientists.
The researched health benefits include potentially reducing blood pressure, promoting the elasticity of arteries, and generally improving circulation.
Muscadine seeds can also help promote weight loss by increasing energy levels and cardio vascular efficiency.
10 Benefits of Grape Seed Extract, Based on Science.
Muscadine skin has polyphenols for longevity and disease prevention.
The muscadine is America’s strongest source of grape resveratrol. Muscadine grapeskin also contains the polyphenols ellagic acid, quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin.
Most grape and muscadine supplements contain only the seed, because it’s easier to produce. But our flagship MX1 and MX2 products actually contain 50% powdered seed plus 50% powdered skin. Plus we add BioPerine® pepper extract to increase revseratrol bioavailability up to 229%.
Resveratrol is a famous molecule which has been researched for longevity, diabetes and fighting the killer diseases we dread.
Resveratrol health benefits
An in-depth medical article about the health benefits of grape resveratrol.
Google Scholar links
You’ll be impressed with how many research studies have been carried out into the polyphenols found in muscadine grape skin. Just looking at the headlines in these Google Scholar links gives an idea of the potential health benefits of muscadines.
Ellagic acid health benefits. Click here.
Quercetin health benefits. Click here.
Kaempferol health benefits. Click here.
Myricetin health benefits. Click here.
Powdered muscadines have concentrated health benefits.
Fresh muscadines are only available at the end of the summer. And it’s hard to get the full health benefits just from eating the fruit. Here’s why:
Polyphenol-rich muscadine skin is thick and not pleasant to chew.
Antioxidant-rich muscadine seeds are too hard to bite through and digest.
The flesh you are left with is full of fructose fruit sugars.
This means that when people eat fresh muscadines, they are only eating the least healthy part … which is the sugar-rich flesh.
At Muscadinex we remove the sugary flesh, and this is used for making delicious muscadine wines.
We then dry and powder the healthy skin and seed portions of the fruit:
Because we’ve removed the water and made a powder, you’re getting concentrated health benefits.
The sugary flesh is removed. So you get the ‘red wine’ resveratrol benefits of the skin, but without any alcohol.
Because the powder is fine, it is more easily digested, so you get maximum value for money.
Plus our powdered product means you can enjoy muscadine health benefits all year round!
Importantly, you get the healthy anti-oxidant and polyphenol molecules in their natural proportions. At Muscadinex we say that Mother Nature is in charge of product development. We don’t add anything … or take anything away from the healthy ingredients.
Muscadine grapes and your health goals.
Thank you for reading about the background to muscadines and their health benefits.