Grapes may be one of the most versatile fruits. Besides being delicious eaten out of hand, they also give us wine, raisins, and jelly. As a bonus, they contain powerful antioxidants.
Grapes that are eaten fresh are called table grapes. They come in both seeded and seedless varieties. Red table grapes come in many varieties, some with colorful names like Scarlet Royal and Flame. Nutrition wise, red grapes have a slight edge over other types.
Scholars tell us that grapes date back to prehistoric times, and humans have cultivated them for over 7,000 years. Although grapes grow wild in many areas of the world, they are most closely associated with the area around the Mediterranean. Italy, Spain, and France contain about a third of the world's vineyards. California is not only a major wine-growing area, but also produces about 90% of the table grapes grown in the United States.
The ingredient in red wine that generates the most excitement is resveratrol, an antioxidant. Researchers first recommended drinking red wine for its resveratrol content, but now believe that table grapes and grape juice are good sources, too. Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine, due to a longer fermentation process.
Resveratrol isn't the only reason to eat red grapes, though. Here are some others:
1. Cardiovascular Health
Grapes, grape juice, and wine have antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system. These antioxidants, sometimes called flavonoids or polyphenols, can relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation. They also reduce the clotting function of platelets much as aspirin does. These antioxidants reside mainly in the skin and seeds of grapes.
Some studies show that you would have to eat a lot of grapes to improve cardiac function. Grapes can be part of a nutrient-rich diet, but no single food can ensure heart health.
Flavonoids and resveratol in red grapes are known for their heart disease prevention properties. The incidence of heart diseases in France is the lowest due to consumption of red wine and red wine grapes. Grape juice and wine made from these too contain antioxidants such as aspolyphenols, flavonoids and resveratrol. These help to lower the risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood clots and heart-related diseases.
Some people with diabetes believe that they should not eat fruit because of its sugar content. Fruits with a low glycemic index, however, are fine for those with diabetes. A low glycemic index means that the sugar in the fruit will not immediately raise blood sugar. Another number helpful to people with diabetes is glycemic load. This number takes into account how much sugar is in an average serving.
The glycemic index and a glycemic load of grapes is moderately low. The many antioxidants in grapes mean that they are valuable foods, even for people with diabetes.
3. Weight Management
Many nutritionists recommend fruits like grapes as part of a weight management program. The water and fiber content of grapes make them a filling food. They are also delicious without sugar. To get the maximum value from fruits, eat the whole fruit instead of drinking the juice.
Red grapes are the richest source of saponins found in the outer skin. It helps to accumulate cholesterol and stops it from being absorbed in the blood. This helps to prevent obesity and heart diseases.
The skin and seeds of red grapes contains resveratrol that controls the ageing process. Resveratrol is a strong antioxidant that helps to maintain the health of the skin.
5. Antibacterial Activity
Red grapes possess antibacterial and antiviral properties. Thus, they protect you from many infections. The antiviral properties are also useful to fight against the polio virus and herpes simplex virus.
6. Skin Health
Grapes and their seeds contain a good amount of antioxidants. They are 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E and 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C. This helps to protect the skin from pollution and toxin damage. This is also useful in the repair of collagen.
Filled with Vitamin C and antioxidants, grapes can help to revitalize your skin. In fact, they can even protect your skin from cancer-causing ultraviolet radiation and free radicals that can, on a lesser scale, cause wrinkles and dark spots. The added Vitamin C is necessary for your skin to form collagen, which helps give your face that youthful firmness.
7. Kidney Disorders
Red grapes are useful for reducing uric acid. These help to eliminate the acid from the system and reduce the work pressure of the kidneys.
Resveratrol, a vital constituent of red wines, is useful to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Red grapes are also useful to fight against neuro degenerative diseases.
9. Improves Eyesight
As red grapes are very rich sources of the powerful antioxidant, resveratrol, they perform the function of a blocking agent against few specific enzymes that degenerate the tissue.
10. Improves Brain Power
Resveratrol is one health benefit of grapes that continues to impress! Studies by the University of Switzerland saw that the compound helps to fight against plaques and free radicals that can harm your brain and potentially cause Alzheimer’s. It also helps to increase blood flow to the brain, which increases your mental dexterity.
Resveratrol has shown a positive effect on controlling cancer and it also protects your skin from the harmful UVB rays of the sun. Thus, it helps to guard against hazardous skin cancer. Red grape fruits also protect the body from radiation during the treatment of cancer.
12. Immune Support
One of the best benefits of red grapes. Red grapes are the best natural way to boost your body’s immune system.
Red grapes have eminent therapeutic values that can cure asthma. The assimilatory power of grapes is high, which increases the moisture in the lungs which in turns cure asthma.
14. Boosts Energy
The complex carbohydrates found in grapes can give you a much-needed energy boost. Often enjoyed by runners, grapes are known by those in-the-know as a source of almost instant energy. They’re the perfect pre-workout snack!
15. Strengthens Bones
Last (but certainly not least) manganese is a health benefit of grapes that helps to strengthen your bones. What’s manganese? It’s actually a mineral already occurring in our bodies in small amounts. It contributes to healthy bones (through allowing your body to better absorb calcium and also creating essential enzymes to build bones), but also boosts your metabolism, regulates hormones and normalizes your blood sugar.