Benefits Of Grapes For Health: Grapes offer health benefits, primarily due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. They may benefit the eye, heart, bones, and more.
People have cultivated grapes for thousands of years, including several ancient civilizations that revered them for their use in winemaking. Grapes also make a quick and delicious snack you can enjoy at home or on the go.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, You may find them in various colors, including green, red, black, yellow, and pink. They come in multiple forms, too, from raisins to jellies to juice. Seeded and seedless varieties also exist.
Grapes offer a wealth of health benefits, primarily due to their high nutrient and antioxidant contents.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health: Here are the top 10 health benefits of grapes.
1. Packed with nutrients
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Grapes are high in several important nutrients. Just 1 cup (151 grams) of red or green grapes provides:
Carbs: 27 grams
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 0.2 grams
Fiber: 1.4 grams
Copper: 21% of the daily value (DV)
Vitamin K: 18% of the DV
Thiamine (vitamin B1): 9% of the DV
Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 8% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 8% of the DV
Potassium: 6% of the DV
Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
Manganese: 5% of the DV
Vitamin E: 2% of the DV
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, As you can see, grapes are a rich source of copper and vitamin K. Copper is an essential mineral involved in energy production, while vitamin K is vital for blood clotting and healthy bones.
Grapes also provide good amounts of B vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, and B6. Both thiamine and riboflavin are needed for growth and development, while B6 is mainly required for protein metabolism.
2. May aid heart health
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Grapes may boost heart health in several ways.
May help lower blood pressure
One cup (151 grams) of grapes contains 6% of the DV for potassium. This mineral is necessary for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
Evidence shows that potassium helps lower blood pressure primarily by helping dilate your arteries and veins. It may also help excrete sodium and prevent the narrowing of arteries and veins that would otherwise increase blood pressure.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, However, a review of 32 studies determined that potassium intakes that are both too low and too high may lead to high blood pressure. Researchers advised sticking to the current daily intake recommendation of 4.7 grams.
May help reduce cholesterol
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Compounds found in grapes may help protect against high cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption.
In an 8-week study in 69 people with high cholesterol, eating 3 cups (500 grams) of red grapes per day helped lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, white grapes didn’t have the same effect.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Additionally, diets high in resveratrol — an antioxidant in grapes — such as the Mediterranean diet have been shown to decrease cholesterol levels.
3. High in antioxidants
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Antioxidants are compounds that help repair the damage to your cells caused by free radicals — harmful molecules that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with several chronic health conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Grapes are rich in several powerful antioxidants. The highest concentration of antioxidants is found in the skin and seeds. However, multiple factors may affect their concentration, including grape variety, maturity, post-harvest storage, and environmental factors.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Interestingly enough, these beneficial compounds remain present even after fermentation, which is why wine is also an antioxidant source.
Some grape varieties contain a higher content of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that give these fruits orange, red, blue, pink, and purple colors. Human and animal studies indicate that anthocyanins may help prevent or treat brain and heart diseases.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Other important antioxidants in this fruit are resveratrol and quercetin, which may protect against heart disease, high blood sugar levels, and cancer.
Grapes also contain vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and ellagic acid, which are also powerful antioxidants.
4. May have anticancer effects
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Antioxidants in grapes may protect against certain types of cancer.
Resveratrol, an antioxidant in this fruit, may help by reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, and blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells in your body. In fact, it has been studied for its effects against numerous cancers.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Grapes also contain quercetin, anthocyanin, and catechin antioxidants — all of which may have cancer-fighting effects.
Test-tube and animal studies show that grape extracts may block the growth and spread of human colon and breast cancer cells.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Additionally, a 2-week study in 30 people found that those over the age of 50 who ate 0.3–1 pound (150–450 grams) of grapes per day experienced decreased markers of colon cancer risk.
While more human studies are needed, a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as grapes, has been linked to lower cancer risk.
5. May protect against diabetes and lower blood sugar levels
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Grapes contain 23 grams of sugar per cup (151 grams), which may make you wonder if they’re a good choice for people with diabetes.
If you take a look at their glycemic index (GI) rating — a measure of how quickly a food raises your blood sugar — you’ll see that it ranges from 49–59, depending on grape variety.
Similarly, the definition of low GI is variable depending on the source — some people consider under 55 as low, while others consider under 50 as low.
This means that grapes’ GI score may range from low to medium, in which case they may raise your blood sugar levels at a slow or moderate pace but won’t necessarily spike it.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, However, keep in mind that eating too much of a low GI food will have the same effect on blood sugars as eating a high GI food. So, it’s best to eat grapes in moderation.
In addition, compounds found in grapes may help improve markers of insulin response.
In a review of 29 studies in 1,297 adults, grapes and grape supplements significantly decreased what’s called homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), a measure of insulin resistance.
In particular, the compound resveratrol may improve your body’s ability to use insulin by:
Decreasing insulin resistance
Increasing insulin sensitivity
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Protecting your pancreas’s beta cells, which produce insulin
Improving insulin production
increasing the number of glucose receptors on cell membranes
Managing your blood sugar levels over time is important for reducing your diabetes risk and preventing diabetes-related complications.
6. May benefit eye health
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Plant compounds in grapes may protect against common eye diseases.
For instance, in a study in mice, those fed grapes showed fewer signs of damage to the retina and had better retina function than mice not given the fruit.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Additionally, in a test-tube study, resveratrol was found to protect retina cells in the human eye from ultraviolet A (UVA) light. This may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disease.
According to one review, resveratrol may also safeguard against glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic eye disease.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Plus, grapes contain the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which have been shown to help maintain eye health, improve visual performance, and prevent common age-related eye diseases.
7. May improve memory, attention, and mood
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Eating grapes may boost memory and brain health.
In a 12-week study in 111 healthy older adults, taking 250 mg of a grape supplement daily significantly improved scores on a test measuring attention, memory, and language, compared with baseline values.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Another study in healthy young adults showed that drinking 7.8 ounces (230 mL) of grape juice improved both mood and the speed of memory-related skills 20 minutes after consumption.
What’s more, in a study in rats, 4 weeks of resveratrol intake improved learning, memory, and mood. In addition, the rats’ brains showed signs of increased growth and blood flow.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Lastly, resveratrol may protect against Alzheimer’s disease by reducing brain inflammation and removing amyloid-beta peptide, the accumulation of which has been linked to this condition.
8. May support bone health
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Grapes contain many minerals necessary for bone health — including potassium, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and K, which help prevent osteoporosis, a condition that leads to fragile bones.
Additionally, animal and human studies demonstrate that resveratrol may improve bone density.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, For example, in an 8-week study, rats fed freeze-dried grape powder had better bone absorption and calcium retention than rats that didn’t receive the powder.
Furthermore, a 2-year study in postmenopausal women showed that taking 75 mg of resveratrol twice daily improved bone mineral density and slowed bone loss, reducing the risk of major fractures and hip fractures.
However, human studies are currently lacking.
9. May protect against bacteria and fungi
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Several compounds in grapes may protect against harmful microorganisms.
For example, resveratrol has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi like Campylobacter jejuni and Candida albicans.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, It may also protect against foodborne illnesses. When added to various types of food, resveratrol helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, such as E. coli.
Other compounds in grapes with antimicrobial activity include anthocyanins, which may destroy bacterial cell walls.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Lastly, grapes are a good source of vitamin C, which is well known for its immune system benefits.
10. May slow signs of aging and promote longevity
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Plant compounds in grapes may affect aging and lifespan.
Research shows that resveratrol may delay signs of aging by mimicking the beneficial effects of calorie restriction, such as reducing oxidative stress, enhancing stress resistance, and improving inflammatory response.
Keep in mind that these benefits have only been seen in animal studies.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, In addition, resveratrol activates the SirT1 gene, which is activated by low calorie diets and has been linked to longer lifespans.
Benefits Of Grapes For Health, Resveratrol also activates sirtuin, a protein that regulates cellular processes like aging and cell death.