Grapes were cultivated in the Middle East up to 8,000 years ago. Today, 72 million tons of grapes are grown each year worldwide. There are many types of grapes including green, red, black, yellow and pink. The nutrients in grapes offer a number of possible health benefits. Here are 10.
1. Packed with Nutrients – Grapes are high in important nutrients including vitamin K (vital for blood clotting and strong bones), and vitamin C (necessary for connective tissue health and immune function).
2. Protects Against Certain Types of Cancer – Grapes contain high levels of phytonutrients (beneficial plant compounds), which may protect against certain types of cancer. Resveratrol (a phytonutrient) may reduce inflammation, act as an antioxidant and block the growth and spread of cancer cells. Grapes have other phytonutrients that may contribute to its anti-cancer benefits (quercetin, anthocyanins and catechins).
3. Boosts Heart Health – Here are two reasons eating grapes helps your heart.
· May Lower Blood Pressure – Grapes contains potassium, a mineral that is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. People who eat more potassium and less sodium are less likely to die from heart diseases.
· May Reduce Cholesterol – Compounds in red grapes may lower cholesterol levels by decreasing cholesterol absorption. White grapes do not appear to have the same effect. Eating foods high in resveratrol may also decrease cholesterol levels.
4. Decreases Blood Sugar Levels and Diabetes Risk – Though grapes are high in sugar (23 grams per cup), they have a low glycemic index (a measure of how fast a food raises blood sugar). Additionally, grape compounds may protect against high blood sugar.
5. Increases Eye Health – Grape phytonutrients (resveratrol, lutein and zeaxanthin) may improve retinal function and protect against common eye diseases, including age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, and diabetic eye disease.
6. Improves Memory, Attention and Mood – Grapes contain phytonutrients that may improve memory, attention and mood and may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, though more human-based research is needed to confirm some of these benefits.
7. Contains Important Bone Health Nutrients – Grapes contain minerals necessary for bone health (calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese and vitamin K). Though studies in rats have shown that resveratrol improved bone density, these results have not been confirmed in humans.
8. Defends Against Certain Bacteria, Viruses and Yeast Infections — Numerous grape compounds may protect against and fight bacterial and viral infections.
· Vitamin C – boosts immune system
· Grape skin extract – protects against the flu virus in test-tube studies
· Phytonutrients — stops the herpes virus, chicken pox and yeast infections from spreading in test-tube studies
· Resveratrol – protects against foodborne illnesses
9. Slows Aging and Promotes Longevity – Grape phytonutrients may affect aging and lifespan. Resveratrol has been shown to activate genes which have been linked to longer lifespans in a variety of animal species.
10. Reduces Inflammation – Chronic inflammation plays a key role in the development of chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and autoimmune diseases). Grape phytonutrients may have anti-inflammatory effects, which may protect against certain heart and bowel diseases.