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Health Benefits of Grapes

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on September 09, 2020

Grapes have been a staple of people's diets since ancient times, and they're particularly famous for their use in wine. They make an excellent snack by themselves, but they’re also great as a sweet side dish with cheese boards or savory breakfasts.

Health Benefits

There's more to this fruit than meets the eye, though. Grapes are a great source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C, and they offer plenty of health benefits.

Rich in Antioxidants

In general, dark red and purple grapes are higher in antioxidants than green or white grapes. The antioxidants found in grapes can help protect your cells from free radicals, which are a natural byproduct of your body’s biological processes.

Harmful environmental factors can increase the number of free radicals in your body. At higher concentrations, free radicals can damage your body’s cells and put you at a higher risk for developing illnesses including heart disease or cancer. Antioxidants help prevent those negative effects by binding with free radicals and protecting your cells in the process.

Improve Skin and Heart Health

Grapes also contain polyphenols, which are a type of antioxidant that can improve skin health. Some studies have shown that polyphenols may also protect against cardiovascular problems, cancer, diabetes, and aging.

Grapes also contain resveratrol, which is a type of polyphenol. Resveratrol—which comes from the skin of grapes and is abundant in red wine—has been shown to promote heart health.

Regulate Digestion

Grapes are a great source of insoluble fiber, which can help regulate your bowel movements. And since grapes  are much higher in fructose levels than many other fruits though they are still a good choice for those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Help Your Body Recover

The nutrients found in grapes and other fruits can help your body repair wounds and heal infections more quickly. Grapes are also easy on your body’s digestive enzymes, so they can help reduce pain associated with pancreatitis.

Improve Cognitive Function

Studies in animals suggest that grape juice and grape extract may have cognitive benefits, but human testing still needs to be done.

Nutrition

Grapes aren’t just a handy snack to pack in your lunch. They’re both delicious and nutritious. Here's a look at the nutritional value of your healthy snack.

Grapes are a good source of: 

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron

Nutrients per Serving

One ½ cup serving of grapes contains:

  • Calories: 52
  • Sodium: 2 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 14 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Sugars: 12 g
  • Protein 1 g

Portion Sizes

While grapes have many nutritional benefits, it's important to keep portion size in mind. That's especially true for people who have diabetes, as fruits are generally high in sugar.

Also keep in mind that grape juice contains much more sugar than whole grapes, so whole grapes make for a healthier choice. You don’t need to eat a whole bunch of grapes to enjoy their health benefits!

How to Prepare Grapes

Grapes can be used to make wine and juice, but they're delectable on their own. Here are some tips for preparing grapes:

  • Wash under cold water
  • Drain in a colander or pat dry
  • Separate clusters of grapes from the stem rather than individual grapes
  • Keep the skin on unless your recipe calls for peeled grapes

You'll get the most out of the nutrients in grapes if you eat them fresh, so don't peel or process them unless it's necessary. Try these options for adding grapes to your diet:

  • Slice grapes and add them to a salad with nuts, or mix them into chicken salad
  • Include them in a cheese and meat board as an appetizer
  • Freeze them to make a healthy alternative to popsicles on hot days
  • Skewer them on fruit kabobs with melons, pineapples, or berries

Show Sources

SOURCES:

Consumer Reports: “Forget the Juice and Eat the Whole Fruit Instead.”

Cleveland Clinic: “23 Foods That Are Good for Your Skin.”

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

Cleveland Clinic: “Improving Your Health With Fiber.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Nutrition Guidelines to Improve Wound Healing.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Stocking a Heart-Healthy Kitchen.”

Cleveland Clinic: “The Best and Worst Foods for IBS.”

Cleveland Clinic: “The Best (and Worst) Foods for Pancreatitis Pain.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

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

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

Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity: “Plant polyphenols as dietary antioxidants in human health and disease.”

Trends in Genetics: "Historical Origins and Genetic Diversity of Wine Grapes."

World’s Healthiest Foods: “Grapes.”

World's Healthiest Foods: "Tips for Preparing Grapes."

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