Grapes are a sweet treat that dates back to about 6000 BC. That’s right – grapes have been a crowd pleaser for everyday snacks, charcuterie boards, jams, jellies and wine making since the Neolithic Age. A grape is not only a versatile fruit, but they have it antioxidants making them good for your health. In fact, eating grapes may benefit your heart and skin and may even protect against cancer. Let’s take a look at the wonderful reasons to eat grapes and creative ways to use them.
Grape Nutrition Facts
A ¾ cup serving grapes has:
● 90 calories
● 0 grams of fat
● 23 grams of carbohydrates
● 0 grams of protein
● 1 gram of fiber (4% Daily Value (DV))
● 22 mcg vitamin K (25% DV)
Note that the nutrition facts are identical for red, green, and black grapes.
The health benefits of eating grapes
This juicy luscious fruit is best known for its polyphenols, or beneficial plant compounds. Red, black and green grapes house polyphenols in the skin, pulp and seeds. Many studies have observed the benefits of polyphenols for healthy aging, and research links eating grapes to a reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
For example, a meta-analysis published in PLOS ONE looked at the effects of grape intake on blood pressure across ten studies. Researchers found that polyphenol intake — by eating grapes daily — lowered systolic blood pressure by more than a point. Other studies have found that consuming one and a half cups of grapes per day is allowed improve blood vessel functionlike lower blood triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol levels and key inflammatory markers in the body.
The antioxidant properties of grapes also fight age-related cognitive decline. Research in people with memory loss, eating just over two cups of grapes a day was found to maintain activity in brain regions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, a study conducted on animals suggested that eating grapes may reduce oxidative stress in the brain, which is associated with anxiety and memory loss.
Studies conducted on both animals and humans have also linked grapes to colon and gastrointestinal health. For example, research in mice shows that resveratrol – a specific polyphenol found in grapes – can suppress replication and promote the death of colon cancer cells. A small study of five people of colon cancer patients found that consuming the equivalent of two and a half cups of grapes for two weeks reduced the expression of genes that promote cancer growth by 47%. Of course these results are limited, but they are very promising!
Finally newer Research suggests grapes may protect skin from harmful UVB light. Researchers believe grapes are anti-inflammatory and increase the activity of proteins that play a role in clearing cells that contribute to skin cancer.
Are there any downsides to eating grapes?
There are no disadvantages for healthy people to eat grapes regularly. People taking blood thinners may need to avoid grapes, as they are rich in vitamin K, which can decrease the effectiveness of the medication.
Fun facts about grapes
You may know that this sweet fruit serves as a precursor to jelly and wine, but did you know these other fun facts?
Grapes are actually a berry
When you think of berries, you probably don’t think of grapes. But you can put grapes in the same category as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. And like other berries, red and black grapes get their pigment from a compound called anthocyanin, which has been linked for heart health, protection against cancer and diabetes.
The skin contains the antioxidants
Grapes contain phytonutrients, which are mostly found in the skin of the fruit. The most well-known phytonutrient, resveratrol — think red wine — is most concentrated in the skin.
Genetics determine the color of the grape
In 2006, a plant geneticist determined that grapes have different colors due to their genetic makeup. Red, black and green grapes are nutritionally identical, but they have slightly different antioxidants. While dark grapes contain anthocyanin, green grapes have flavanols. These differences are minuscule, as all grapes have been shown to be beneficial.
All grapes have a variety of anti-inflammatory antioxidants. But red and black grapes also contain anthocyanin and reservatrol, the plant compounds that have been linked to heart and cognitive health. Therefore have dark grapes minor ahead in the nutrition department, but you can’t go wrong with any grape, so pick the one you like best.
What about grape juice?
Although grape juice is rumored to be high in sugar, 100% grape juice is made from only concord grapes, contains no added sugar, and has been extensively studied for its potential health benefits. In fact, one hundred percent grape juice contains the beneficial polyphenols found in grapes, and Research has found a clear relationship between drinking grape juice and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a 1/2 cup of 100% grape juice counts as a serving of fruit. Be sure to look at the “100%” on the label to make sure the juice is made only from grapes and has no additives.
Healthy grape recipes
Although grapes are naturally sweet, they go well with both savory and dessert dishes. Below are some interesting ways to use grapes in your kitchen.
Savoury: Add grapes to your main dish in this Roast Chicken With Grapes And Burrata Recipe or Antoni’s Pancake Chicken With Rosemary And Grapes Recipe. Grapes also go really well with spices, as in Giada’s grape and rosemary focaccia recipeor with vegetables and cheese, as in Roasted Grapes And Mascarpone Toast Recipe or Farro Salad With Feta, Brussels Sprouts, Grapes & Almonds. Try this for a sour and sweet snack Pickled Grapes recipe.
Sweet: Pop a bunch of washed grapes in the freezer and enjoy them frozen anytime. Combine grapes with chocolate in this easy way Chocolate grape bark or add them to a simple and satisfying White Kiwi Sangria Recipe.
This article was originally published on TODAY. com