Grape Juice: Are There Health Benefits?

Grapes have been part of the human diet for centuries. They are easy to grow and are ideal for winemaking. The fruit may also be dried and preserved as raisins.

Grape juice is made from the whole grape, including the skin, flesh, and seeds. It contains most of the vitamins and minerals found in table grapes, plus the health benefits of the nutrient-rich seeds.

The most common type of grape juice is purple and is made using Concord grapes. You can also find white grape juice that is made from Niagara grapes. Both types of grapes are native to America.

Eating whole grapes is also a great choice. The fresh fruit provides fiber and additional vitamins.

Nutrition Information

A ½-cup serving of unsweetened grape juice contains:

  • Calories: 76
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 19 grams
  • Fiber: 0 gram
  • Sugar: 18 grams

Grape juice provides:

Grape-flavored drinks may contain more added sugar and water than fruit juice, giving you lots of calories and little in the way of vitamins and minerals. Look for “100% juice” on the label to get all the health benefits of grape juice without added sugars. 

Potential Health Benefits of Grape Juice

Like the fruit it’s made from, grape juice is a fat-free and cholesterol-free source of vitamins and minerals. It's a low-sodium beverage, too.

Here are some benefits to drinking grape juice:

Reduced Risk of Disease

Grape juice contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances, such as pollution or the chemicals in processed food. The damage they cause to cells can contribute to the development of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Antioxidants may help prevent or even reverse this damage.

Juices made from Concord or purple grapes may be better for disease risk reduction. Concord and purple grapes naturally have higher antioxidant activities than other varieties of the fruit.

Improved Heart Health

Early research shows that red and purple grape juices may promote cardiovascular health in some of the same ways as red wine. Similar benefits of red wine and grape juice include protecting blood vessels, decreasing the risk of blood clots, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Lower Blood Pressure

The potassium found in grape juice can benefit people with high blood pressure by helping the body get rid of excess sodium. Potassium can also lower blood pressure by relaxing the walls of your blood vessels.

Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections

You may have heard that cranberry juice can help fight the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Early studies show that black grape juice may work in the same way.

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Potential Risks of Grape Juice

Grape juice offers many health benefits but is high in natural sugar and calories. Some people may need to be especially careful with the beverage and only drink it in moderation.

High Blood Sugar

Grape juice contains natural sugars, not the artificial sweeteners or refined sugar found in soda. However, one cup of grape juice contains 36 grams of sugar and almost no fiber, so it can cause your blood sugar to spike.

If you have diabetes or need to watch your blood sugar for any reason, ask your doctor whether you need to avoid or reduce your typical serving of fruit juice. Whole grapes may be a better option, as they contain fiber and may not be as likely to cause a rise in blood sugar.

Weight Gain

Grape juice can be a healthy alternative when trying to kick the soda habit. High-calorie drinks like fruit juice are easy to overdo, though, so consider portion size when pouring a glass. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting juice to a half-cup serving per day.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on September 24, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians: “Antioxidants: What You Need to Know.”

American Heart Association: “How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure.”

Antioxidants: A Comparison of Total Antioxidant Capacities of Concord, Purple, Red, and Green Grapes Using the CUPRAC Assay.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Can You Eat Fruit if You Have Diabetes?”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Juice, grape, unsweetened, bottle.”

Harvard: “Healthy Beverage Guidelines.”

International Journal of Current Research and Review: “Does Black Grape Juice Inhibit Bacterial Adherence and Biofilm Production by Uropathogenic Escherichia Coli Just as Cranberry Juice?”

Keck Medicine: “5 Things Grapes Can Do for Your Overall Health.”

Mayo Clinic: “Does grape juice offer the same heart benefits as red wine?”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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