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Health Benefits of Black Grapes

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on August 31, 2020

Black grapes have been grown in Europe and Asia for over 6,000 years. The black grapes we enjoy today (Vitis vinifera) come in two varieties — one grows in Western Asia near the Black Sea, and the other grows in the Americas. Most are cultivated for use in wine, but they also make a delicious and healthy snack.

The average American eats five pounds of grapes each year, making it the fourth most popular fruit in the nation. The nutrients in black grapes include polyphenols, which are potent antioxidants, as well as a variety of essential vitamins and minerals.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of black grapes have been studied extensively. The chemicals they contain can give you healthier hair and skin, improve your heart health, and even protect your cells against cancer.   

Rich in Antioxidants

Some varieties of black grapes are much higher in antioxidants than green or red grapes.
These chemical compounds help protect your cells from damage. They protect against diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and heart disease. They can also help you heal from illness faster.

Resveratrol, an antioxidant contained in grapes, is believed to offer exceptional protection for the heart and brain. It is also known to help the body fight cancer, viruses, and inflammation.  

Improve Cardiovascular Health

One of the best-known benefits of resveratrol is improved heart health. You may have read that drinking red wine helps stabilize blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, and lower your risk of heart disease. Scientists think that resveratrol, found in the skins of red and black grapes, is what gives red wine its heart-healthy properties. 

Protect Against Cancer

Resveratrol has slowed the growth of cancer in laboratory tests and animal trials, but more studies are needed to learn whether it will help humans fight cancer.

May Slow Alzheimer’s Disease

Resveratrol may slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have noticed that drinking red wine in moderation is linked with a lower risk of memory loss. In studies, rats treated with resveratrol have shown improved memory and brain function.

Researchers have uncovered some of the chemical connections between resveratrol and brain health, although further research is needed.  

May Help Fight Obesity

Resveratrol and another compound in black grapes called pterostilbene have both demonstrated anti-obesity effects in laboratory and animal studies. Both ingredients seem to help the body improve gut bacteria and regulate energy, but further testing is needed to determine whether they can fight obesity in humans. 

Nutrition

Black grapes are 82 percent water, which keeps them low in calories despite being high in natural sugars. All that water is filling and hydrating for the body. In other words, grapes are sweet but still low-calorie and fat-free.

Nutrients per Serving

1/2 cup of black grapes contains:

  • Calories: 31
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Sugar: 7 grams

Black grapes contain the following vitamins and minerals:

Things to Watch Out For

Compounds present in grapes may slow blood clotting. Although grapes haven’t been shown to cause problems in humans, you might want to limit your intake of grapes if you have a bleeding condition or you are preparing for surgery.

Also note that grapes are a choking hazard for small children.

How to Prepare Black Grapes

The rich, nuanced flavor of black grapes pairs well with a wide variety of foods. They bring sweetness to salads, they balance oily foods, and they make for a convenient snack. 

  • Add halved grapes and sliced almonds to chicken or tuna salad
  • Use black grapes to bring color and sweetness to a cheese plate
  • Snack on grapes and nuts for a healthy afternoon treat
  • Add grapes to a fruit salad
  • Toss black grapes into a green salad, along with strawberries, pineapple, pecans, and blue cheese
  • Serve black grapes in small bunches with quiche or frittata at brunch

Show Sources

Sources:

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry: Comparison of Antioxidant Activities of Different Grape Varieties

Biomedicines Journal: Resveratrol: A Double-Edged Sword in Health Benefits

Mayo Clinic: Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?

Nutrients: Dual Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet Activity of Polyphenolic Grape Seeds Extract

Oregon State University: Micronutrient Information Center: Resveratrol

Journal of Biological Chemistry: Resveratrol Promotes Clearance of Alzheimer’s Disease Amyloid-β Peptides

BioFactors: Antiobesity molecular mechanisms of action: Resveratrol and pterostilbene

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