The health benefits of grapes include supporting heart health, preventing cancer, regulating blood pressure, and safeguarding vision. Cultivation of grapevines began in the Middle East around 8,000 years ago. The grape family encompasses a variety of products, such as red, green, and purple grapes, seedless grapes, grape jelly, grape jam, grape juice, raisins, currants, sultanas, and wine. Globally, grapes are cultivated to the tune of 72 million tons annually, with the majority destined for wine production. This results in the creation of 7.2 trillion gallons of wine each year. Additionally, grapes are a favored snack.
The nutritional content of grapes contributes to several potential health advantages. They have been linked to the prevention of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, hypertension, and constipation.
Quick Insights on Grapes
Grapes’ nutrients may help guard against cancer, vision issues, heart disease, and other health conditions. Resveratrol, a significant nutrient found in grapes, may confer health benefits. Grapes are rich in fiber, potassium, and an assortment of vitamins and minerals. They are also appropriate for individuals with diabetes, provided they are incorporated into the dietary plan.
Grapes, particularly red grapes, contain resveratrol, a compound that may hold various health benefits. A diet abundant in fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity. Grapes, like other fruits and vegetables, are a good source of fiber and water. Although further research is necessary to confirm some of their benefits, the antioxidants and other nutrients in grapes may render them especially beneficial to health.
Here are some ways the nutrients in grapes may enhance health:
Grapes are packed with potent antioxidants called polyphenols, which are believed to possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Among these is resveratrol, found in the skins of red grapes. Laboratory studies suggest that resveratrol might slow down or prevent tumor growth in various cancers, including lymphatic, liver, stomach, breast, colon, skin cancer, and leukemia. Resveratrol is also found in red wine. While few studies have examined the link between red wine and human cancer risk, it is known that consistent high alcohol consumption can increase cancer risk. Moderation is crucial, with a moderate alcohol intake defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men according to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Another natural anti-inflammatory found in grapes is the flavonoid quercetin. Research suggests that quercetin may also aid in preventing or slowing cancer growth.
2) Heart Health
Animal research indicates that quercetin and resveratrol may lower atherosclerosis risk and protect against damage from low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. These studies have typically used flavonoid doses much higher than those consumed by humans. The polyphenols in grapes, such as resveratrol, are thought to offer antioxidant, lipid-lowering, and anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce cardiovascular disease risk by preventing platelet accumulation, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of irregular heart rhythms. Grapes contain fiber and potassium, both of which support heart health. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends increasing potassium intake while reducing sodium intake to improve blood pressure and cardiovascular health. A study involving 12,267 U.S. adults indicated that a higher sodium intake relative to potassium intake increases the risk of all-cause mortality. High potassium intake is associated with reduced stroke risk, protection against muscle mass loss, and preservation of bone mineral density.
3) Blood Pressure
Enhancing potassium intake may help counteract the negative effects of excessive sodium in the diet. Grapes have a high potassium content, suggesting they can help mitigate the impact of sodium in those with high blood pressure. Fiber is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system, including heart health and blood pressure, and grapes are a good source of fiber.
Due to the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin, there is a suggestion that consuming grapes could alleviate allergy symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and hives. However, no human studies have confirmed this.
A 2013 study in the BMJ indicated that certain fruits, excluding juices, might lower the risk of type 2 diabetes in adults. The study, which spanned 22 years and involved 187,382 participants, found that 6.5 percent developed diabetes. Yet those who consumed three servings per week of fruits like blueberries, grapes, raisins, apples, or pears had a 7-percent lower diabetes risk than those who did not. Despite grapes’ relatively high sugar content, the American Diabetes Association recommends their consumption for people with diabetes, as long as the carbohydrate content is factored into their meal plan. The vitamins, minerals, and fiber in grapes make them a healthy option for satisfying a sweet craving.
7) Diabetic Neuropathy and Retinopathy
Some studies suggest that resveratrol may offer protection against diabetic neuropathy, which affects nerve function, potentially due to its neuroprotective effects. Animal studies also suggest that resveratrol could guard against retinopathy, which can significantly impact vision. These complications can arise from poorly managed diabetes.
8) Eye Health
Grapes are rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help maintain eye health by neutralizing free radicals, thus reducing oxidative stress and damage to the retina, and helping prevent cataracts and other eye conditions. Laboratory tests have indicated that resveratrol might protect against various eye problems, including age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, and others. However, the exact mechanisms and benefits for humans remain uncertain.
An in vitro study published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy suggests that resveratrol could assist in treating acne, particularly when used alongside benzoyl peroxide as a topical treatment.
10) Other Conditions
Resveratrol may also assist with other health issues. However, some studies question whether resveratrol can benefit humans in these ways, and more evidence is needed.