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Grapes are deliciously sweet and subtle vine fruits that are known to the science world as Vitis. Grapes come in an array of colors, most popularly red and green, and hybrids that create some really epic flavors. Have you ever tried cotton candy grapes? They taste exactly what they sound like. Besides the tender flesh and sweet, juicy flavor profile, perhaps, more importantly, grapes are brimming with many nutrients beneficial to your health. Whether you prefer your grapes fresh, juiced, frozen, or fermented (ahem, wine), grapes have many wonderful health benefits. Check out a few!
Important Note: Each of the wonderful health benefits pertaining to grapes that are discussed herein is supported by the most current research at the time of this publication. Be sure to do your own research if you’re checking in far beyond this publication date.
Grapes are a sweet and juicy fruit that are loaded with recommended nutrients. A one-cup serving of grapes, green, red, or otherwise, contains just 104 calories. Better than the low-calorie composition, however, are the many important vitamins and minerals contained in grapes. For starters, grapes are fraught with fiber, copper, thiamine, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese. Furthermore, grapes are also made up of vitamins K, B6, C, and E. Each of the vitamins and minerals contained in a single serving of grapes has individual health benefits as you’ll see noted below. What’s more, when taken together, grapes deliver a complex punch of daily nutrients that fuel your body. Some of the health issues addressed by the vitamins and minerals in grapes include blood clotting, energy production, bone health, growth, and metabolism.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. There’s no disputing the nutrient makeup of grapes; they’re a well-rounded fruit packed with vitamins and minerals that are important to human health.
Improves Heart Health
One of grapes’ shining minerals is potassium. A single serving of grapes contains 6% of the daily recommended value of potassium. Potassium is essential to managing blood pressure. Furthermore, it’s widely known that well-maintained blood pressure is integral to optimal heart health. As such, acquiring more potassium through grape intake can lead to better heart health. Potassium’s main function in managing blood pressure is through preventing the narrowing of arteries that may otherwise lead to high blood pressure and therefore an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Moreover, grapes are useful for managing cholesterol levels. As with blood pressure, it’s also understood that well-maintained cholesterol helps to reduce the risk of heart disease. Some of the important compounds found in grapes may help to decrease the absorption of bad cholesterol. Also, because grapes do not contain cholesterol at all, including them in your diet may help to reduce the risk of high cholesterol. One interesting study showed that by eating three servings of grapes per day, subjects were able to lower their cholesterol levels. Although that’s a lot of grapes in a day, it seems to be an effective method for reducing harmful cholesterol levels. Again, the effect of managing cholesterol is the reduced risk for cardiovascular disease.
General Consensus: 3.5/5 and here is why. Although some of the vitamins and minerals in grapes can be attributed to the lowering of blood pressure and the reduction of cholesterol, both of which lead to improved heart health, neither can do so in and of itself.
High in Antioxidants
Grapes contain laudable levels of antioxidants which are compounds that reduce oxidative damage and the presence of free radicals, both of which can lead to disease. Some of the conditions that oxidative stress is connected to include some types of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Overall, grapes are high in antioxidants, however, the highest concentration of these compounds is found in the skins and seeds so eating grapes whole is best for this health benefit. If you’re a wine lover, you’re in luck because the antioxidants remain active even after fermentation so this is another great way to benefit from grapes. Moreover, anthocyanin, one of the grapes’ main antioxidants, has been found to prevent both brain and heart diseases. Other powerful antioxidants found in grapes include lutein, vitamin C, and beta carotene among others.
General Consensus: 5/5 and here is why. Undoubtedly grapes are packed with the free radical-fighting antioxidants that prevent so many diseases; study after study proves this assertion.
One of the ways that grapes are a friend to a diabetic diet is in the fact that they rate low on the glycemic index; a serving of grapes has a glycemic index score of around 49 falling on the low side of the index. As a result, grapes will not quickly raise your blood sugar if you’re a diabetic. What’s more, there are hypotheses that suggest that grapes contain compounds that may even improve insulin response; one study showed that diabetics who regularly consumed grapes drastically decreased insulin resistance which is when one’s body doesn’t react well to the insulin delivered to reduce blood sugar levels. Of note, the compound resveratrol, found in grapes, treats many biological facets having to do with diabetes; resveratrol can improve insulin resistance and sensitivity as well as improve insulin production.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While the glycemic index of grapes is inarguable making them a sage snack choice for diabetics, more research is indicated on how the compounds in grapes affect insulin resistance.
Good For Eye Health
The same compound associated with improving insulin resistance in diabetics is also attributed to eye health. Resveratrol is said to protect against many common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma among others. In both animal and test tube studies, grapes were shown to reduce retina damage and regenerate retinal cells. What’s more, other antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin can improve vision and also prevent eye diseases.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. Grapes contain several compounds and antioxidants that have long been associated with eye health, more studies on human subjects would be nice, however.
Supports Bone Health
Grapes are fraught with many vitamins and minerals associated with penultimate bone health. Some of these nutrients include potassium and manganese as well as vitamins B, C, and K, all of which are linked to the prevention of osteoporosis. Additionally, the compound resveratrol has been successfully linked to enhanced bone density in both human and animal studies. One such study showed that mice consuming grape powder for an 8-week period experienced improved bone absorption while a study of post-menopausal women receiving resveratrol supplements had improved bone density. While studies on human subjects concerning grapes and bone health are lacking, the outlook is promising.
General Consensus: 2.5/5 and here is why. Science has clearly shown the potential for grapes and the improvement of bone health, however, more research on human subjects is warranted.
Two of the leading factors of constipation include dehydration and lack of fiber in one’s diet. Thankfully, grapes address both of these issues in one tasty fruit. High in both fiber and water content, grapes can aid in hydration as well as regulate bowel movements. A single serving of grapes contains nearly 1 gram of dietary fiber; moreover, grapes are made up of 84% water. Taken together, eating grapes has been proven to enhance bowel regularity and relieve constipation with the added benefit of hydration.
General Consensus: 4/5 and here is why. While grapes alone may not completely improve regularity and constipation, they can certainly lend a helping hand.
Supportive Of Weight-Loss
If you’re considering a healthy snack that’s not only low in calories but will also satiate your sweet tooth, consider a serving of grapes. Besides being low-calorie and nutrient-rich, grapes contain anthocyanins that counter risk factors for obesity. Anthocyanins can both suppress weight gain and lower liver fat content; one study showed that animals nearing obesity were able to suppress weight gain with the intake of anthocyanins despite eating a high-fat diet.
General Consensus: 3/5 and here is why. While grapes are certainly a diet-friendly food, the studies suggesting grapes actually suppress weight gain are specific to animal subjects; as such, human studies are much-needed.
Unlikely Benefits: Further Research Needed
Protects Against Bacteria
General Consensus: 1.5/5 and here is why. Despite the antimicrobial effect of the compound resveratrol, the position that grapes may be able to ward off harmful bacteria and fungus is currently unfounded by research.
General Consensus: 2/5 and here is why. While it’s true that a healthy diet is essential to good sleep, grapes in and of themselves will not inherently improve sleep quality; a diet overhaul is more likely to do so than simply incorporating this one fruit.