Grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years and have been revered by several ancient civilizations for their use in winemaking.
There are many types of grapes including green, red, black, yellow and pink. They grow in clusters and come in seeded and seedless varieties.
Grapes are grown in temperate climates across the world, including Southern Europe, Africa, Australia and North and South America. The majority of grapes grown in the US are from California.
Grapes offer a wealth of health benefits due to their high nutrient and antioxidant contents.
1. Packed With Nutrients, Especially Vitamins C and K
Grapes are high in several important nutrients.
One cup (151 grams) of red or green grapes contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 104
- Carbs: 27.3 grams
- Protein: 1.1 grams
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.4 grams
- Vitamin C: 27% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K: 28% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 7% of the RDI
- Riboflavin: 6% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI
- Potassium: 8% of the RDI
- Copper: 10% of the RDI
- Manganese: 5% of the RDI
One cup (151 grams) of grapes provides more than a quarter of the RDI for vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones.
They’re also a good source of vitamin C, an essential nutrient and powerful antioxidant necessary for connective tissue health.
2. High Antioxidant Contents May Prevent Chronic Diseases
Antioxidants are compounds found in plants, for example. They help repair the damage to your cells caused by free radicals, which are harmful molecules that cause oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress has been associated with several chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Grapes are high in a number of powerful antioxidant compounds. In fact, over 1,600 beneficial plant compounds have been identified in this fruit.
The highest concentration of antioxidants is found in the skin and seeds. For this reason, most of the research on grapes has been done using seed or skin extracts.
Red grapes contain higher numbers of antioxidants due to the anthocyanins that give them their color.
The antioxidants in grapes remain present even after fermentation, which is why red wine is also high in these compounds.
One of the antioxidants in this fruit is resveratrol, which is classified as a polyphenol.
Numerous studies have been performed on its benefits, showing that resveratrol protects against heart disease, lowers blood sugar and protects against the development of cancer.
Grapes also contain vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, lutein, lycopene and ellagic acid, which are powerful antioxidants as well.
3. Plant Compounds May Protect Against Certain Types of Cancer
Grapes contain high levels of beneficial plant compounds, which may help protect against certain types of cancer.
Resveratrol, one of the compounds found in this fruit, has been well-studied in terms of cancer prevention and treatment.
It has been shown to protect against cancer by reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant and blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells within the body.
However, the unique combination of plant compounds found in grapes may be responsible for their anti-cancer benefits. In addition to resveratrol, grapes also contain quercetin, anthocyanins and catechins — all of which may have beneficial effects against cancer.
Grape extracts have been shown to block the growth and spread of human colon cancer cells in test-tube studies.
Additionally, one study in 30 people over the age of 50 showed that eating 1 pound (450 grams) of grapes per day for two weeks decreased markers of colon cancer risk.
Studies have also found that grape extracts block the growth and spread of breast cancer cells, both in laboratory and mouse models.
While studies on grapes and cancer in humans are limited, a diet high in antioxidant-rich foods, such as grapes, has been linked to a lower risk of cancer.