Do you need to boost your energy and improve your complexion? French and Italian women would swear on the benefits of the ‘Grape Cure‘. Packed with anti-oxidising polyphenols, which are instrumental in helping to firm up the skin and to remove free radicals, grapes have been praised for their healing properties ever since the first vines were cultivated around 8.000 years ago. They have been also associated with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure.
Mathilde Thomas, co-founder of Caudalie, and author of the bestselling book “The French Beauty Solution” confesses to doing it once a year: “My skin gets clearer, but it’s really about feeling good, being energised.” According to Mrs Thomas, a brief grape cleanse would brighten our skin and also ease insomnia, straighten out digestion, relieve fatigue and stress.
Reservatrol, part of a group of compounds called polyphenols, is the key element responsible for healing properties. The flavonoids and antioxidants in the grapes protect the skin and prevent the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. Grapes also contain potassium and especially vitamin C which is necessary for the formation of collagen, a fibre-like protein that helps retain skin elasticity.
What exactly is a Grape Cure?
Not meant for losing weight but for helping our body to rest and eliminate toxins, the grapes fast is a mono-diet consisting in consuming nothing but organic red grapes (richer in flavonoid content than white/green ones) with seeds for 3-5 days, throughout the day, in three-hour intervals, and water. Naturopathic Practitioners recommend beginning with small amounts (about 500g of grapes) and increasing the dose a little every day until a maximum of 3 kg per day is reached. Don’t panic if you wake up with a headache, feeling cold, or with a few spots on your skin; this is a sign that the detox is working, and they’ll soon go away.
Does it really work?
When coupled with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, incorporating fasting into your routine could benefit your health.
Inspired by Johanna Brandt and her famous book ‘Grape Cure‘, Christopher Vasey, a naturopath specialising in detoxification and rejuvenation, author of ‘The Detox Mono Diet: The Miracle Grape Cure and Other Cleansing Diets‘, has demonstrated why these restricted regimens are so effective in healing illness and restoring optimum health. Despite the different nutritive qualities of the chosen food, all these diets work the same way:
These cures naturally enhance our health by eliminating waste products – he writes- and preventing the body from absorbing toxins during this process.
In general, grapes are said to be beneficial for protecting against cardiovascular disease and, because of their potassium and glucose content, they are argued to be useful for the treatment of heart disease by strengthening muscle tone, improving heart function and having a positive impact on convalescence.
- In 1920 Johanna Brandt, a South African spy during the Boer War who later turned to naturopathy, spent many years experimenting with fasting and diets before she found her grape cure. She claimed this diet had eradicated her stomach cancer (not supported by any scientific evidence)
- Later in 1970, researchers at the University of Bordeaux in France began studying grapes and their potential health benefits. The French population, known for their high-fat meals, had a much lower incidence of heart disease than other countries and many believe it was a direct cause-effect of the country’s love for red wine (the so-called “French Paradox”).
- One cup of grapes, with about 100 calories, provides more than a quarter of the daily recommended values of vitamins K and C.
- French spas were among the first to introduce treatments with wine-based products such as scrubs, baths and body wraps using fresh grapes and vine extracts.
- For the past 120 years the residents of Merano in Italy, have been integrating the sweet, dark and large-berried grape, the Grossvernatsch, into their diet. In his pamphlet ‘The Merano Grape Cure‘, which was published in 1934, the established Merano spa physician, Prof. Gara, offered all of the available scientific and medical knowledge relating to the grape cure.