Sweet, luscious red grapes may seem like a decadent treat but they are surprisingly healthy. Whatever variety you choose – the “red globe” which is very sweet and has large seeds, the “crimson” which is a seedless variety, or the “flame” which is medium in size, seedless, and has a faintly tart flavor – these succulent treats have something to offer everyone. Here are health benefits you can look forward to when you chomp down on grapes:
Also Check: Are Sour Grapes Better For Health?
1. Contain Protective And Antiaging Antioxidants
Red grapes contain compounds such as rutin, quercetin, and resveratrol which are powerful antioxidants. How do these help? Antioxidants can protect your body from the harmful effects of free radicals. As we all know, free radicals can have a damaging effect on your cells and DNA and are implicated in conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Free radicals also play a role in aging. These compounds are produced by the body during the course of converting food into energy and are present in environmental toxins, alcohol, and processed foods too.
Red grapes are richer in resveratrol than green grapes. This antioxidant is responsible for many of its benefits and is especially found in the skin, which is why it’s important to eat them whole.
Antioxidant-rich red grapes can mitigate their effects to some extent. Researchers have specifically studied the effect of resveratrol in animals and found that it slows the aging of muscle fibers and neuromuscular junctions.
2. Fight Inflammation
Red grapes can also help fight inflammation. In fact, drinking red grape juice can even be beneficial for people who are prone to inflammation. In one study, red grape juice extracts were found to help people undergoing hemodialysis, reducing inflammatory biomarkers.
Lifestyle factors like being overweight, having an unhealthy diet or one rich in refined carbs and simple sugars, drinking, and smoking can all promote inflammation. And persistent inflammation has been linked to a host of health problems such as arthritis, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s important to load up on foods such as red grapes which have anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Lower Triglyceride And LDL Cholesterol Levels
Are you concerned about your cholesterol levels? Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant found in red grapes, can help balance cholesterol levels. In fact, one animal study found that resveratrol not only suppressed LDL cholesterol but also reduced triglyceride levels in the blood. The hypocholesterolemic action of resveratrol is thought to be due to its ability to increase the excretion of cholesterol through stool. Of course, it’s also important for you to identify the root cause of the inflammation that’s causing cholesterol, but foods like grapes can both fight the inflammation and help balance the cholesterol ratio in your body.
4. Keep Your Blood Vessels Healthy
About 80% of grapes is water. So chowing down on them can also count toward your water intake and help keep you hydrated.
Noshing on red grapes may keep your blood vessels and, by extension, your heart healthy. One study found that patients with coronary heart disease who took a red grape polyphenol extract experienced an increase in flow-mediated dilation after they did so. Flow-mediated dilation refers to the widening of an artery in response to increased blood flow in that artery. This is a measure of the health of your blood vessels and a dysfunction here is associated with atherosclerosis.
5. Protect Your Vision
Red grapes contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids with antioxidant properties that are important for the health of your eyes. These antioxidants filter out harmful blue light wavelengths and help to maintain and protect cells in your eyes. Research also shows that they lessen the risk of chronic eye diseases such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. So nosh on red grapes to up your intake of protective carotenoids and keep your eyes healthy.
6. Help Deal With Diabetes
Including red grapes in a healthy balanced diet can help if you want to control your blood sugar levels. The benefits that red grapes offer to people with diabetes can be attributed again to resveratrol. Research has found that this compound can reduce blood sugar levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity.
If you are wondering about the sugar content of grapes, don’t worry. Grapes actually have a low glycemic index, that is, they release sugar slowly into the bloodstream and don’t cause a sudden spike. But steer clear of grape juice and have the whole fruit instead. Studies show that while having whole grapes is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, drinking the fruit juice may actually pose a higher risk. You can safely have up to 2–3 servings of fruit depending on your calorie and carb intake for the day. Include grapes in this to make the most of its benefits.
7. May Help Ease Neuropathy
Compounds such as rutin and quercetin present in red grapes have been found to help treat nerve damage. One animal study found that they eased pain due to neuropathy induced by a chemical commonly used in chemotherapy. Meanwhile, another animal study observed that 8 weeks of treatment with quercetin improved nerve functions considerably in rats with diabetic neuropathy. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of these bioactive compounds are considered to be responsible for these beneficial effects. While eating grapes may not have as much impact as therapeutic treatment with these flavonoids, grapes can be a good addition to your everyday diet to keep problems like neuropathy at bay.
8. May Help With Alzheimer’s Disease
Free radicals and oxidative stress have a role to play in the development of the neurodegenerative condition Alzheimer’s disease. And as we’ve seen, red grapes have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It should come as no surprise then that animal studies have found that red grape juice can improve memory and speed of learning in rats induced with Alzheimer’s. Research also indicates that resveratrol can reduce the accumulation of amyloid plaque in the brain. This is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
9. May Help With Weight Loss
Red grapes can be a great snack if you are looking to lose a few pounds. 100 grams of this yummy fruit give you just 69 calories. But that’s not all. Resveratrol may be able to give your weight-loss efforts a helpful little nudge too. How does it work? Your body has two kinds of fat cells – white fat which stores calories and brown adipocytes which burn fat by converting it into heat. And research shows that resveratrol stimulates browning of white adipose tissue. An animal study also found that treatment with resveratrol significantly reduced weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet when compared to a control group.
10. May Help Protect Against Cancer
Cancer is one of the major causes of death across the world. Many studies have shown that resveratrol which has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can fight this disease. It can slow down cancer and inhibit tumors in the breast, stomach, liver, and lymph as well as trigger the death of colon cancer and leukemic tumors. Once this is established with more research, it could offer a breakthrough in cancer therapy.
To make the most of these benefits of red grapes, buy them from certified organic sources with minimal or nil pesticide exposure. And remember, while dietary intake of grapes as part of your daily five veggies and fruits is fine, be sure to check with your doctor before consuming large amounts. This especially applies if you are on medication such as beta blockers or blood thinners.