What simple things can you add to your diet to support your health? This week’s Nutrition News evaluates the positive effects of grape juice on our health.

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The health benefits of grape juice

While grape juice is one way of reaching your 5 a Day and is packed with antioxidants, it also has a high sugar content. This article by Healthline looks at whether the potential benefits outweigh any unwanted effects on health.

Grape juice is a great source of a range of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, which is important for the immune system and skin health, and manganese, which plays a pivotal role in cognitive health as it is involved in the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Other important nutrients in grape juice include magnesium, potassium and copper.

Containing several flavonoids and polyphenols, which are plant compounds that act as antioxidants, grape juice can also act as an anti-inflammatory. These anti-inflammatory effects also mean that grape juice can support heart health and it can support digestive and gut health, both through its fibre content and polyphenol content, which is thought to increase the diversity of the gut microbiome.

While these health benefits are significant, it is important to remember that, as with all food and drink, it is best consumed in moderation. Being high in sugar, grape juice can increase blood sugar levels and have a negative effect on weight management. That being said, unsweetened varieties or opting for whole grapes instead can be an effective way of getting a wide range of nutrients and health benefits.

Omega 3’s link with sleep

Omega 3 and fatty acids are known to support cognitive health but a recent study, as reported by NutraIngredients, has suggested that they could also play a role in sleep support.

The cross-sectional study looked at data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-2012 evaluated 1,314 US adults aged 19 or over and found that blood levels of EPA, DHA, and total omega 3 fatty acids were lower on average amongst those who experienced short sleep, which was categorised as five hours or less.

Further research is needed to establish causality and uncover the underlying mechanisms that might see fatty acids influence sleep quality but it adds to a growing body of research that links omega 3 with general support of human health.

With sleep quality being linked to a range of physical and mental health outcomes, this latest research offers a promising insight into potential nutritional support options.

The heart health benefits of spirulina

Spirulina, which is a blue-green algae that grows in both fresh and salt water, is regarded around the world for its antioxidant profile but there are a number of health benefits that come from consuming this organism according to this recently published Healthline video.

In addition to its antioxidant content, spirulina is also thought to help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and aid blood sugar control offering diabetes support.

Furthermore, spirulina is a potent source of several important nutrients such as vitamin B1, B2, B3, copper, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and iron, besides many more in smaller quantities. As a result, spirulina is widely considered one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth.

While research into the algae continues, many people are already introducing it to their diet as a way of obtaining a wide profile of essential nutrients.

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Alison Astill-Smith author Alison is the Founder of Metabolics who writes about Metabolics updates, events and natural healthcare. Her experience and passion for natural supplements and healthcare comes from her years of experience as a practising osteopath, having founded Metabolics in her search for high quality, natural products in her own work. Alison has been a qualified and practising Osteopath since 1981 and regularly gives seminars on a range of healthcare subjects to the wider practitioner community helping share her knowledge and experience.