Juicy and delicious grapes grow in clusters and come in different colors like purple, crimson, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange and pink. They can be eaten raw or used for making wine, vinegar, jam, juice, jelly, grape seed extract, raisins, and grapeseed oil. Grapes are available year-round.
As well as being tasty, grapes are a storehouse of numerous health benefits, from helping prevent cancer to treating constipation and poor eyesight.
Grapes contain fiber, protein, copper, potassium, iron, folate and vitamins C, A, K and B2. They are also high in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties as well as phytonutrients, especially phenols and polyphenols. Grapes also have high water content and are good for hydration.
The average serving size for grapes is about 1 cup or 32 grapes.
Here are the top 10 health benefits of grapes.
1. Protects Against Cancer
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of grapes help protect against cancer. They prevent chronic oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, two important factors that cause cancer. Apart from reducing the risk of cancer, grapes also suppress the growth and propagation of cancer cells.
According to a 2005 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, muscadine grapes contain natural phenolic compounds that exhibit anticancer properties.
Grapes are particularly effective in reducing the risk of colorectal, lung, prostate and breast cancer. The compound resveratrol found in grape skins is a potent antioxidant that helps protect the skin from the sun’s damaging UVB rays, thereby reducing the risk of skin cancer.
To reduce your risk of developing cancer, enjoy fresh grapes or juice rather than the supplements.
2. Boosts Brain Power
Grapes are also good for your cognitive health. Eating them regularly can improve memory power and prevent age-related memory decline. The resveratrol in grapes increases blood flow to the brain and improves mental responses. Grapes can even delay the onset of degenerative neural diseases like dementia.
Also, grapes prevent brain-damaging plaque and free radicals, which can cause Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Concord grape juice supplementation improves memory function in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.
3. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
The flavonoids and antioxidants in grapes help improve cholesterol levels. In fact, this fruit can lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol) levels, while raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol) levels.
According to a 1999 study by the University of Wisconsin Medical School, regular intake of purple grape juice
improves endothelial function and reduces the susceptibility of LDL cholesterol to oxidation in patients with coronary artery disease.
Moreover, grapes increase the nitric oxide levels in the blood, which prevents blood clots and reduces the risk of heart attacks.
4. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Eating grapes or drinking red wine regularly offer many cardiovascular benefits like reducing the risk of blood clots, preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart and helping maintain a healthy blood pressure.
In fact, due to their high potassium content, those with high blood pressure can eat grapes to help negate the effects of sodium in the body.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, mild to moderate drinking of red wine made of high quality grapes reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems. Resveratrol and proanthocyanidin are the major compounds present in grapes and red wine that offer cardiovascular benefits.
In addition, the anti-inflammatory properties in grapes prevent chronic inflammation and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and other conditions.
5. Fights Fatigue
Grapes make an ideal snack for fighting fatigue and improving your energy level. They are loaded with high quality vitamins as well as magnesium, phosphorus, iron and copper. All these nutrients work together to boost your immune system, provide energy and fight symptoms of fatigue.
Moreover, by eating grapes you can keep your iron and mineral levels balanced. Also, the carbohydrate content in grapes helps keep the muscular and nervous systems working well.
Just one handful of grapes or ½ glass of grape juice can give you instant energy and make you feel less fatigued. However, dark grapes may not provide the iron boost required to fight fatigue. Light-colored and white grapes are best for combating fatigue.
6. Improves Eyesight
Grapes protect the eyes’ photoreceptors and help prevent macular degeneration and other eye-related diseases.
According to a 2014 study by the University of Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, grapes help protect the retina from deterioration and ensure proper eye care. In fact, retinal or macular degenerative disease is one of the leading causes of blindness among seniors.
Moreover, their anti-inflammatory property helps reduce inflammatory protein levels and increases the number of protective proteins in the retina.
Eat grapes or grape juice on a regular basis to protect the retina from deterioration and enjoy good eyesight for years.