Red grapes: nutrition and health benefits

By: Bel Marra Health | Food Facts | Thursday, August 06, 2015 - 04:36 AM

Nutrition and health benefits of red grapesGrapes have been grown for more than 5,000 years and are a tasty snack or addition to salads and desserts. Many North Americans turn to red grapes as a way to cut calories or reduce fat, but there is much more to eating red grapes than potential weight loss. Recent studies suggest red grapes may help prevent cancer, as well as other well-known illnesses.

Resveratrol is a chemical that occurs naturally in grape skins. Studies indicate that it may have anti-cancer properties. The laboratory data seems to suggest that eating red grapes in small amounts is the key.

In the latest research, results from bowel cancer-prone mice given small amounts of resveratrol showed a 50 percent reduction in tumor size, while mice that received a high dose showed only a 25 percent reduction in their tumors. Samples of tumors from bowel cancer patients who received different doses of resveratrol showed that lower doses get into cancer cells and affect tumor growth.

More investigation is needed because human trials involving resveratrol and cancer have been mixed. Some researchers are wondering if purified resveratrol is only effective for people with a certain genetic make-up or those who have a particular diet and lifestyle.

Two key benefits of red grapes

While researchers around the world continue to examine red grapes and their effects on cancer, we can tell you that the juicy fruit has other benefits.

Low Glycemic Index:
Glycemic index or GI is a measurement taken on foods containing carbohydrates and their impact on blood sugar. Over the last decade or so, low GI diets have been linked with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, kidney disease, and gall stones. Grape juice and grape extracts have been connected with better sugar balance, better insulin regulation, and increased insulin sensitivity.

Phytonutrients:
Food scientists say they have known for a long time that grapes contain phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are natural chemicals that protect plants from germs, bugs, and fungi. We don’t have to have phytonutrients to keep us alive like we need vitamins and minerals, but recent research shows that grape phytonutrients increase the expression of three genes related to longevity. Essentially, eating red grapes could help us live a longer life.

How to choose grapes for good health

In the mid-nineteenth century, a Greek poet came up with the phrase “moderation in all things” and when it comes to food, nutritionists consider this a good rule. Eating red grapes is not an exception so you should measure how much you eat. Yes, grapes are low in calories, but they are small and therefore it is easy to sit and eat bowl after bowl. Before you know it you have doubled or tripled your calories and you have added too many extra carbohydrates to your daily intake. Each cup of grapes contains about 65 calories.

Grapes contain vitamin K, C, and B-6, as well as potassium, fiber, and small amounts of zinc, iron and magnesium. You know you are getting good nutritional value with a bowl of red grapes.

Grapes Nutrition Facts
(Red or Green)
Nutrient Value for per 100 g
Nutrients Energy 69 Kcal
Carbohydrates18 g
Protein0.72 g
Total Fat0.16 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Dietary Fiber0.9 g
Vitamins Vitamin A 66 IU
Vitamin C10.8 mg
Vitamin E 0.19 mg
Vitamin K 14.6 µg
Riboflavin 0.070 mg
Pyridoxine 0.086 mg Niacin   0.188 mg
Folates 2 µg
Minerals Calcium10 mg
Iron    0.36 mg
Magnesium   7 mg
Manganese   0.071 mg
Zinc         0.07 mg
Electrolytes Sodium     1 mg
Potassium    191 mg

When you are buying grapes nutritional experts suggest selecting ones that are fully ripe. They will have higher concentrations of antioxidants in them. You will be able to tell they are ripe because they will appear plump and will not have any wrinkles on them. They should be firmly attached to a stem and not be leaking any juice.

Grapes will spoil at room temperature so they should always be stored in the refrigerator or a cold room. It is best to loosely wrap unwashed grapes in a paper towel and place them in an airtight container or plastic bag. This will ensure that the fruit stays fresh for up to four or five days.

Some people may be surprised to learn that you can freeze grapes. They can be very refreshing on a summer day. To freeze them, simply wash and pat them dry and then arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet before placing in the freezer. Once you have noticed that the grapes are frozen you can transfer them to a thick plastic bag and leave them in the freezer until you are ready to enjoy them.

Grapes need to be thoroughly washed before you eat them. Grapes are one of the worst fruits on the market when it comes to pesticide residue. Some people prefer to purchase organic grapes to avoid residue.

Although green grapes also have good nutritional value, the general rule with both fruits and vegetables is that the darker the color, the better it is for you. It is believed that they have more plant-based chemicals to protect against disease. So the next time there is a bowl of red grapes on the dining table, don’t hesitate to grab a handful. You will not only be enjoying the sweet, juicy taste, but you’ll be giving deeper meaning to the phrase “helping yourself.”

Related Reading:

Asparagus: Nutrition and Health Benefits
Don’t let the side effect of smelly urine turn you off asparagus, it packs many essential vitamins and nutrients that your body needs. Let’s further explore the nutritional value of asparagus along with how it can improve our health. Continue reading…

How to achieve a well-balanced diet
Here at Bel Marra Health we continuously explain to our readers the importance of eating well and a maintaining a balanced diet. We generally give you a few guidelines to follow such as eating more fruits and vegetables, limiting sugar and processed foods and sticking with lean proteins. But there’s more.

Sources:
http://ekaweb01.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/cru-rgc072915.php
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=40
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/benefits-eating-fresh-red-seedless-grapes-5309.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11101467


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