Grapes:10 Health Benefits, Nutrition and Side Effects

Alexandra Dusenberry Alexandra Dusenberry Alexandra Dusenberry
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Grapes have been around for thousands of years. They are available in various types, including green, red, black, purple, and yellow. They are most popularly cultivated in Southern Europe, Africa, North and South America, and Australia.

Studies focus extensively on grape phytochemicals and their impact on human health. Evidence has linked their consumption to a reduced risk of chronic disease, including heart disease and cancer (1).

In this post, we will explore the benefits grapes can have on your health and wellness.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Grapes?

The potent antioxidants in grapes (including resveratrol) may protect against inflammation and cancer. They also promote heart health. Their low GI makes them a good addition to an anti-diabetic diet. Grapes are also known to contain nutrients that promote vision and bone strength.

1. May Help Protect Against Cancer

Grapes and other grape-based products were found to have chemopreventive potential. This was especially true in the case of grape-seed extract (2).

In animal models, grape extracts could inhibit the proliferation of colon cancer. The proanthocyanidins in them were found to be responsible for this beneficial effect (3).

These compounds also had a preventive effect on the cancer of the breast (2).

Other bioactive compounds in grapes that may aid cancer prevention are catechins, resveratrol, anthocyanins, and phenolic acids (4). In addition to the fruit, the skin has been found to have anti-cancer properties.

Grape antioxidants were found to induce cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cells. These compounds help scavenge free radicals, which may largely contribute to cancer (4). Thus, grape skin and seed extracts show potential in cancer prevention, and further investigation is required to understand their mechanism in humans.

A specific type of grapes grown in Mexico, called the muscadine grape, has also been studied for its anti-cancer effects. The grape type has been found to have a beneficial effect on prostate cancer. This grape contains ellagic acid and quercetin, which help in this process (5).

2. May Promote Heart Health

A diet rich in fruits, in general, can help promote heart health. Among the fruits, grapes have a unique role to play. The flavonoids, phenolic acids, and resveratrol in grapes may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (6).

Grape polyphenols have antioxidant properties. These can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol, thereby preventing atherosclerosis (a serious cardiac situation) (6).

The resveratrol, along with other proanthocyanidins, may also reduce the risk of ischemic heart disease (7).

Whole red grape juice was found to reduce resting blood pressure and increase post-exercise hypotension (8).

In another study, daily intake of grape polyphenols was found to lower systolic blood pressure in humans (9). However, this reduction was modest when compared to anti-hypertensive medication. Hence, more research is required on subjects with hypertension to verify these effects.

3. May Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes

Grapes have a low glycemic load and glycemic index and could be included in moderation in an anti-diabetes diet. Other important compounds in grapes, including resveratrol, quercetin, and catechins, have shown potential in reducing blood sugar levels (10).

Grapes fight oxidative stress, and this can help in improving diabetes symptoms (11).

Studies show that the proanthocyanidins in grape seeds can help prevent peripheral neurophathy, which is a serious diabetes complication (12).

The resveratrol in grapes can help prevent diabetic neuropathy by boosting motor nerve conduction velocity and nerve blood flow (13).

4. May Boost Cognition

Juice from purple grapes was found to boost cognition and mood in healthy adults (14).

The juice of Concord grapes (another grape variety) was found to positively affect brain aging and behavior. Supplementation of the juice in humans with mild cognitive impairment resulted in an increased memory performance. Consuming these grapes along with other high antioxidant foods, like berries and walnuts, may enhance cognitive and motor function in the long run (15).

In healthy older adults, the intake of a supplement containing grape extracts was found to reduce the risk of negative neuropsychological effects associated with aging (16).

Resveratrol also increases hippocampal neurogenesis (growth and development of nervous tissue in the hippocampus). This provides evidence that resveratrol treatment in the middle age may help improve memory and mood function in old age (17).

Dietary resveratrol may also be a powerful agent to prevent age-associated neurodegeneration and improve cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (18).

5. May Help Prevent Inflammation And Boost Immunity

Grape intake has been associated with increased anti-inflammatory markers in the human body. The polyphenols, including resveratrol, contribute to these effects (19).

Grapes also boost immunity, and these effects have particularly been observed in Concord grapes (another grape variety). Intake of Concord grapes was found to elevate circulating gamma delta T cells (cells that may have a prominent role in the body’s defense system) (20).

The anthocyanins in grapes help promote immunity. Although more studies in humans are warranted, this can be considered a promising discovery (21).

6. May Promote Vision Health

In mice studies, a diet supplemented with grapes protected the retinal structure. It also prevented retinal degeneration caused by oxidative stress (22).

Oxidative stress and inflammation are among the major contributors to vision issues. The polyphenols in grapes can help fight these factors, thereby promoting vision health. These polyphenols were also found to protect the photoreceptors (22).

Resveratrol, in specific, may also benefit vision. It helps decrease the production of intracellular reactive oxygen species and can prevent serious eye ailments like glaucoma (23).

Resveratrol in grapes may be beneficial in the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (23).

Grapes may also have beneficial effects in the prevention of cataracts (23).

7. May Strengthen Bones

Rats fed with a grape-enriched diet were found to have improved calcium retention and cortical thickness (24). Hence, the consumption of grapes may improve calcium utilization and bone turnover.

In another rat study, the proanthocyanidins in grape seeds were found to promote bone formation. The study concludes that when a high-calcium diet is supplemented with grape seeds, it can reverse different forms of bone loss (25).

The proanthocyanidins were also found to ameliorate osteoarthritis. In studies, they could prevent cartilage damage and promote bone health (26).

8. May Promote Longevity

Oxidative stress accelerates aging. Grape antioxidants fight oxidative stress, which may delay the signs of aging and promote longevity (27). However, there is need for more research to understand the specific mechanisms.

Grapes were also found to promote certain longevity genes and proteins (28). One such gene is Sirt1, an anti-aging gene, which could be activated by grapes (29).

Given their purported anti-aging effects, grapes and grape-derivatives are also an important part of the cosmetic industry (30).

9. May Prevent Microbial Infections

Grape extracts (especially those of red grapes) were found to have antimicrobial properties (31).

Grapes are also rich in vitamin C (32). Studies show that vitamin C can promote immune function. It supports cellular functions in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. It also fights pathogens (33).

The resveratrol in grapes can also have a role to play here. It has potent antiviral and cytotoxic properties, which may help prevent different viral infections (34).

10. May Protect Against Skin Harm

The resveratrol in the grapes has a promising role to play. The compound combats oxidative stress, which is a factor that can negatively impact skin health (35). Resveratrol may have photoprotective effects.

Resveratrol can also protect the skin from UV-induced skin damage and may help prevent skin cancer and skin inflammation (35).

The resveratrol in grapes may also aid acne treatment (36). It works by inhibiting Propionibacterium acnes, bacteria that cause acne. Studies have also have found that combining the antioxidant with a common acne medication (benzoyl peroxide) may enhance its ability to treat acne (37).

Grapes have a myriad of potential benefits. They have been extensively studied and may even help prevent a host of chronic diseases (1).

We have seen a few of the most prominent nutrients present in grapes. In the following section, we will explore more of them.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Grapes?

Measure Description1 cup, NFS
Servings1
Servings Weight151g
Water (g)121.62
Energy (kcal)104
Protein (g)1.09
Fat, total (g)0.24
Carbohydrate (g)27.33
Sugars, total (g)23.37
Fiber, total dietary (g)1.4
Alcohol (g)0
Cholesterol (mg)0
Saturated fatty acids, total (g)0.082
Monounsaturated fatty acids, total (g)0.011
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, total (g)0.072
Calcium (mg)15
Copper (mg)0.192
Iron (mg)0.54
Magnesium (mg)11
Phosphorus (mg)30
Potassium (mg)288
Selenium (mcg)0.2
Sodium (mg)3
Zinc (mg)0.11
Vitamin A, RAE (mcg)5
Vitamin C (mg)4.8
Vitamin B-6 (mg)0.13
Choline, total (mg)8.5
Vitamin E, alpha tocopherol (mg)0.29
Folate, DFE (mcg)3
Folate, food (mcg)3
Folate, total (mcg)3
Vitamin K (mcg)22
Niacin (mg)0.284
Riboflavin (mg)0.106
Thiamin (mg)0.104
Carotene, beta (mcg)59
Carotene, alpha (mcg)2
Lutein + zeaxanthin (mcg)109

Source: USDA, grapes, raw

The simplest way to enjoy the goodness of grapes is having them as they are. There are other appealing ways you can include these little fruits in your regular diet.

How To Include Grapes In Your Diet

  • You can add chilled grapes to your pasta, sweet potatoes, or fish. Serve with crusty bread rolls on the side.
  • Add a few frozen grapes to your champagne or other bubbly drinks.
  • Throw a few grapes into your ice cream or yogurt.

In addition to these, you can also try out a few popular recipes using grapes.

Popular Recipes Using Grapes

These two recipes are quite easy to prepare and come packed with the essential nutrients.

1. Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Grapes with Walnuts

What You Need
  • 24 ounces of grapes
  • 24 ounces of Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup of chopped walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 450oF.
  2. Toss the grapes and Brussels sprouts on two rimmed baking sheets. Add the oil and thyme.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast until tender, for about 20 minutes.
  5. Drizzle each tray with a teaspoon of vinegar. Toss in the walnuts and serve.

2. Grape Tart

What You Need
  • 3 to 4 cups of red and green grapes (seedless)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • ½ cup of cold butter, unsalted, cut into pieces
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of rolled oats
  • Pastry cream, as needed (for the grape tart)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400oF.
  2. Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor.
  3. Add butter to the mixture and pulse once more until it resembles a coarse meal.
  4. Add two tablespoons of ice water and process once again until the mixture comes together.
  5. Add oats and pulse again to combine.
  6. Press the dough onto the bottom and sides of a pan. Bake until golden for about 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from the pan and let the crust cool.
  8. Whisk the cooled pastry until smooth. Spread evenly on the crust and arrange grapes on the top. Press in.
  9. Chill for at least 2 hours and up to a day. Dust with some confectioner’s sugar before serving.

These recipes are easy to prepare. You may spend your weekend with family trying out any of these. You may also experiment with grapes in various other ways. But before you go all-in on grapes, you may want to know about their side effects.

What Are The Side Effects Of Grapes?

  • May Interfere With Blood Thinners

Grapes contain vitamin K (32). Research shows that vitamin K can interfere with blood thinning drugs (like Warfarin). This is because vitamin K contributes to the formation of blood clots (38).

Otherwise, grapes are relatively safe for consumption. Though there is no information on the safety of grapes during pregnancy or breastfeeding, they could be safe if taken in normal amounts. But make sure you check with your doctor in this regard.

You may take up to a cup of grapes a day (about 30 grapes).

Conclusion

Grapes are available in different colors, but their benefits are similar. You can include them in your dietary routines in simple, easy ways. Check out the recipes we have shared. Try them, and let us know your experiences. Do share your thoughts by leaving a comment in the box below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are black grapes healthier than green grapes?

There is no specific information stating which of the two is superior. Try including both the varieties in your regular diet.

Are green grapes good for weight loss?

There is no research specifically stating grapes’ ability to induce weight loss. They have a low GI and could be a part of a weight loss diet. But moderation is recommended (as they also contain sugar).

38 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Alexandra Dusenberry is a registered dietitian nutritionist and a certified personal trainer based in San Diego, California. She has 6 years of experience and works with clients around the world to help them reach their health and fitness goals. She believes that food is medicine and proper nutrition is healing and essential for wellbeing and quality of life. Alexandra enjoys...read full bio

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