Exploring the Benefits of Grapes: Why Should You Eat Them?

Exploring the Benefits of Grapes: Why Should You Eat Them?

Are grapes good for you? There’s no doubt about it! If you’re like us, you love to eat these delicious little fruits. So grab a bunch and hang on, because you’re about to learn all about the benefits of grapes.  We’ll also take a peek at the benefits of wine, plus we’ll explore some grape-based supplements worth considering.

What do grapes do for you?

A better question might be “What can’t grapes do for you?” The health benefits of grapes are attributed to their fiber content, as well as their antioxidants and other nutrients. The humble little grape benefits your eyes, your heart, your blood vessels, your digestive system, and even your eyes! If you suffer from constipation or indigestion, grapes can help. They’re associated with good kidney health, and when it comes to eye health, grapes benefits include a reduced risk of age-related problems including cataracts and macular degeneration.

Low in Calories, High in Nutrients

We can thank a variety of nutrients for grapes benefits. A 100 gram serving of most varieties contains just over 50 calories, but offers 203 milligrams of potassium, 37 milligrams of calcium, and 14 milligrams of magnesium. Grapes are also high in thiamine, niacin, folate, and riboflavin, plus they’re a good source of important micronutrients including flavonoids such as quercetin and myricetin. Grapes nourish your entire body, and their antioxidants make them valuable in the fight against free radicals. If you’re looking for foods to help you beat aging, be sure to count grapes among them!

Great for Heart Health

You know that grapes are good for your heart, but you might not know exactly why this is. When you eat grapes, you’re also increasing the amount of nitric oxide in your blood. This in turn helps prevent blood clots and reduces the risk of heart attack. It’s important to note here that grapes alone won’t prevent heart attacks; instead, they’re a valuable component of a healthy lifestyle.

Lower LDL Cholesterol

Many of us are looking for good ways to lower LDL cholesterol level. Eating plenty of plant-based foods is certain to make a difference, and when you eat grapes, you get a little bit of extra action on the LDL cholesterol front. Thanks to their high antioxidant levels, grapes help prevent that bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, blocking blood vessels, and contributing to artery disease.

The resveratrol and quercetin in grapes work overtime by neutralizing free radicals. At the same time, they help clear toxins from your bloodstream and they help reduce blood platelet clumping. Saponins found in grape skin bind with cholesterol particles in the digestive tract and help prevent their absorption into the bloodstream. Meanwhile, a component called pterostilbene can help reduce cholesterol levels overall.

Good for Bones, Nerves, and Collagen Formation

We don’t often hear about veggies and fruits offering bone benefits. The truth is that many plant-based foods are excellent for building strong, healthy bones and preventing the onset of osteoporosis and other age-related conditions that are sometimes seen as inevitable. Micronutrients including iron, copper, and manganese join with calcium to provide this benefit while also helping to stimulate collagen production and aid in proper nerve function.

Are grapes good for your skin?

These little fruits might seem like a tasty, healthy snack, but did you know that they can help improve your appearance? There are many grapes benefits for skin, including slowing the aging process and neutralizing free radicals that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. In fact, many skin care products now contain resveratrol, which is a compound found in grapes. Eat them regularly, and you’ll be doing your skin a favor.

Grapes are hydrating, which benefits skin as well. The better hydrated you are, the firmer your skin will appear.

Benefits of Green Grapes

You’ve heard the message time and again: “Eat your greens!” While green grapes aren’t as high in vitamin K and other compounds found in leafy green vegetables, they do contain plenty of chlorophyll, and they are loaded with essential nutrients.

Just like red and black grapes, green grapes contain plenty of fiber, and they are great for your digestive system. The fiber in green grapes (and other varieties) can help decrease LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol, too.

Green grapes contain lots of vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant that gives your immune system the strength it needs to ward off illnesses. The same vitamin C contributes to healthy, smooth skin.

Benefits of Red Grapes

If red grapes are your favorite, then you’re treating yourself to an extra boost for your immune system. While all grapes offer some immune benefits, red varieties tend to be a little bit higher in vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin K. They’re packed with the same nutrients found in other grape varieties, and they contain more antioxidants than green grapes. If you’re looking for the best fruit for cold season, be sure to make red grapes one of your go-to choices.

Benefits of Black Grapes

Also known as purple grapes, black grapes contain even more antioxidants than their red and green counterparts. As a general rule, the darker the grapes, the more beneficial flavonoids, anthocyanins, and tannins you’ll be consuming. You can actually taste the tannins in many dark-colored grape varieties, particularly those with thicker skin.

Black grapes are high in resveratrol, which is a potent antioxidant that is linked with neutralizing free radicals. This can help your skin look better, but that’s not all. Black grapes are also good for your brain, your heart, and your immune system.

If you’re looking for a sweet snack that’s relatively low on the glycemic index, then black grapes should make their way onto your list. Be careful not to eat too many, though. You might find that it’s helpful to portion your grapes out into single servings so that you’re not tempted to keep on munching after you’ve reached your quota. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, grape serving size is 32 small grapes, or about one cup. You can make your treat last longer by freezing the grapes and enjoying them slowly.

Tips for Choosing, Enjoying, and Storing Grapes

When you’re shopping for grapes, take a little time to inspect them before tossing them into your basket. The same wisdom applies to all varieties: Choose grapes that look firm, not wrinkled, and inspect the bunch to ensure that there’s no mold hiding inside.

You’ll want to wash your grapes before you eat them. If you opt to wash them before storing them, be sure to add some paper towels to your container to absorb extra moisture that can accelerate spoilage.

Since grapes have a tendency to spoil and ferment at room temperature, it’s a very good idea to keep your supply refrigerated. You can even freeze a few to enjoy as a hot-weather snack, or to add to beverages in place of ice cubes.

There are many ways to eat grapes! Try them fresh off their vines, add them to fruit salad, or cut them in half and toss them into savory dishes. If you’re lucky enough to have a large supply of fresh grapes, you can turn them into jam or jelly, make fresh grape juice, or even explore the idea of making wine. The options are endless!

Benefits of Wine

The benefits of eating grapes, taking grapeseed extract, and using grapeseed oil are indisputable. The benefits of drinking wine, however, are often contested. There are a few good reasons for this: Wine is a source of concentrated sugar, plus it contains alcohol. When consumed at minimal levels, it is often considered to be beneficial. Unfortunately, many of us love wine so much that we have a tendency to overdo it. Know that wine’s benefits are most prominent when you drink just a little! Here’s an overview.

According to research published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, people who drink small to moderate amounts of wine enjoy better cardiovascular health. When you drink a little wine on a regular basis, you’re also likely to enjoy better cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular health, meaning lower stroke risk and better circulation overall.

Researchers have discovered that the fruit of the vine increases blood flow by dilating arteries. This reduces the risk of clotting, which can damage the heart’s muscle and cut off blood supply. The same clots can lead to stroke, so enjoying wine regularly may also reduce your risk.

In addition, wine has been shown to promote healthy HDL cholesterol levels while helping to prevent LDL (bad) cholesterol from clogging and damaging arteries and blood vessels.

Many plant-based foods contain phenols that help cut the risk of cancer, and as one of the most powerful sources of phenolic compounds, wine is at the top of the list. Research has shown that the same compounds that help cut the risk of heart disease can also slow breast cancer growth. Other compounds found in wine show promise in suppressing the growth of prostate cancer cells, oral cancer cells, and liver cancer cells.

If you’re hoping to reap the benefits of drinking wine, it’s best to choose dry red varieties, since these typically contain a high concentration of beneficial compounds, minus some of the sugar found in sweeter varieties. A little goes a long way, too. Participants in studies tend to receive wine’s benefits when they drink just a glass or two of wine per day, and overdoing it causes wine health benefits to disappear. Women are advised to drink one glass of wine per day, while men may enjoy up to two glasses per day. Saving up your daily allowance and bingeing once or twice per week isn’t healthy or helpful, so sip and enjoy a little wine at a time.

Remember that some medications can interact with alcohol, and alcohol isn’t recommended for everyone. If you’re interested in toasting to your health with a daily glass of wine, we recommend having a chat with your doctor to find out what’s best for your unique circumstances.

Grapeseed Oil Benefits

Like grapes and grapeseed extract, grapeseed oil offers some pretty impressive benefits. Since some grapeseed oil is processed with hexane, which might have a minor deleterious effect, it’s best to choose expeller-pressed or cold-pressed grapeseed oil varieties that haven’t been exposed to hexane or other solvents, and that have not been exposed to high temperatures during the extraction process.

Grapeseed oil is an outstanding source of polyunsaturated fatty acids including Omega-6 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends replacing unhealthy trans fats and saturated fats with healthier oils such as grapeseed, since these can help improve your cholesterol profile and even reduce your heart disease risk when accompanied by other healthy lifestyle measures. If you opt to use grapeseed oil, be sure to balance it out with a good source of Omega-3 essential fatty acids such as flax or cold-water fish such as salmon.

Grapeseed oil contains high levels of vitamin E, which essential for immune health and protecting cells from free radicals. Vitamin E is great for your skin, and it’s good for brain health, too.

As with all fats, a little goes a long way. When consumed in excess, grapeseed oil can contribute to obesity by adding unnecessary calories to your diet. Worse, overconsumption can lead to elevated Omega-6 fatty acids, which can contribute to inflammation. So enjoy a touch of grapeseed oil, but don’t make it your only fat source.

Grapeseed Oil for Skin

If you’re interested in DIY skincare solutions, consider adding grapeseed oil to your beauty regimen. It’s deeply moisturizing, and it delivers vitamin E and Omega-6 fatty acids when applied topically, minus the issues that can accompany overconsumption. Applying just a few drops of grapeseed oil to freshly washed skin can help balance moisture levels, reduce the appearance of damage such as wrinkles and scars, and reduce inflammation associated with acne. You can even use a little bit of grapeseed oil to remove makeup!

Grapeseed oil is noncomedogenic, meaning it will not clog your pores. Since it absorbs quickly, it’s an outstanding natural moisturizer that you can use day and night. If you’re looking for a good carrier oil to use with essential oils, you might want to make grapeseed oil one of your top choices. It’s fantastic for solutions designed to nourish and moisturize your entire body, and it’s wonderful for conditioning hair naturally, too.

Grape-Derived Nutritional Supplements to Consider

Grapes are delicious, but they can be a little pricey when they’re out of season, particularly if you prefer organic varieties. The good news is that there are many nutritional supplements derived from grapes, all designed to harness the power of the micronutrients inside.

Resveratrol

We’ve touched on resveratrol previously; now, let’s take a closer look at this incredible polyphenol. Resveratrol benefits include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Promoting brain health
  • Increasing good HDL cholesterol
  • Decreasing bad LDL cholesterol
  • Increasing insulin sensitivity
  • Easing joint pain including arthritis
  • Aiding healthy weight loss
  • Aiding in healthy aging
  • Slowing or inhibiting the growth of cancer cells

Additionally, elevated resveratrol intake has been linked with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as it reduces amyloidal-beta peptides. Besides delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neural disease, resveratrol enhances brain health overall. You’ll get some of its benefits by eating dark-colored fruits and berries including red and black grapes, drinking red wine, and drinking grape juice, but the best way to ensure that you’re getting plenty is to take a resveratrol supplement.

Like many supplements, resveratrol comes with potential side effects and drug interactions. When taken at high doses, it can stop blood from clotting, increasing the risk of bruising or bleeding when taken alongside blood thinners and anti-clotting drubs such as warfarin or heparin. Certain pain relievers can cause a similar interaction.

Resveratrol may not be suitable for use alongside certain anxiety medications, blood pressure medications, and immunosuppressant drugs, since it blocks some of the enzymes responsible for clearing certain compounds from body tissues. This action can cause certain medication to bioaccumulate in your system, ultimately reaching an unsafe level.

Don’t be afraid to take resveratrol, but if you take medications or live with a chronic condition, be sure to have a chat with your health care provider before adding it to your natural healthcare plan!

Grape Seed Extract

To enjoy even more grapes benefits, consider taking a grape seed extract supplement. Grape seed extract offers a cost-effective method for increasing your antioxidant intake, particularly when grapes are out of season in your area, or when you’re watching your sugar intake. Here are some additional benefits of grapeseed extract.

Thanks to high levels of antioxidants, grape seed extract can benefit your entire body by building a healthier immune system. Research is underway to determine whether grapeseed extract reduces cancer risk, but nothing definitive has been discovered to date.

If you’re looking for a way to improve heart health naturally, grape seed extract can be a valuable ally. It is linked with improved circulation, plus it can help reduce swelling. The anti-inflammatory effects of grapeseed extract can help your whole body and brain stay healthier, so long as you’re taking other healthy lifestyle measures at the same time.

Because grape seed extract increases circulation, it may not be safe for people who have bleeding disorders or who are taking blood thinners, pain medication, heart medications, cancer treatments, and other pharmaceuticals. If you have high blood pressure, you may want to enjoy the benefits of grapes by eating them instead of supplementing with grape seed extract, as it may not be helpful in your case. As with all supplements and medications, it’s a very good idea to talk with your doctor about potential risks and side effects of grape seed extract before adding it to your natural health regimen.

Quercetin

Grapes are a good source of quercetin, which is a plant pigment also known as a flavonoid. Like many supplements, quercetin is still the subject of research, and many of its purported benefits have not been definitively proven. Still, you will enjoy many of grapes’ benefits if you decide to take a quercetin supplement. Quercetin offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, making it a good choice for overall good health.

Some potential quercetin benefits include:

  • Reducing cancer risk and even killing some cancer cells
  • Helping to keep blood sugar under control
  • Reducing heart disease risk
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Controlling blood sugar
  • Decreasing blood pressure naturally
  • Reducing pain and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis

Quercetin is potent, and there are known interactions and side effects. Research shows that quercetin may make kidney problems worse. High doses are linked with headaches. Quercetin interacts with medications that are changed and broken down by the liver or moved by pumps in cells, and it can decrease the efficacy of certain antibiotics. If you take any prescription drugs, be sure to check with your doctor before using quercetin at the same time.

Delicious and nutritious, grapes offer so many benefits that it can be difficult to keep track of them all! Enjoy the “queen of fruits” often, try different colors and varieties, and consider adding supplements derived from grapes to your natural health plan, and you’ll discover that your body and mind benefit.