Grapes are delicious, sweet and sour vine fruits that make healthy, portable snacks and are great additions to salads and other dishes. Grapes have gotten a bad rap at times for being high in carbs and sugars. While raisins – dehydrated grapes – have higher sugar and carb content, fresh grapes are in fact low on the sugar index. As long as you consume only moderate amounts of this tasty fruit, you can experience the many health benefits of grapes for yourself.
Grapes contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds known as polyphenols. Antioxidants are well-known powerhouses that offer our cells a variety of positive effects including cancer prevention. They are responsible for protecting and restoring damaged cells. Red grapes also contain resveratrol, which studies have shown slows and protects the growth of several types of cancerous tumors. Quercetin, another natural anti-inflammatory in grapes, can also slow cancer growth. Grapes can be eaten daily, in moderation, to obtain the most benefits.
Grapes are outstanding when it comes to keeping your heart healthy. Antioxidants are beneficial to the heart in several ways including lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease. Studies have shown that both quercetin and resveratrol lower cholesterol and plaque buildup in animal arteries. Grapes also contain fiber and potassium, which support a healthy heart. Potassium has several heart health benefits, including reduced risk of stroke. With these components working together, grapes have your heart pretty well covered.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two more antioxidants found in grapes. They both help maintain good eye health by reducing the oxidative stress and damage to the retina that occurs as we age. These carotenoids can help prevent eye conditions such as cataracts. In addition, resveratrol protects against cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma.
Fruit is known to relieve the symptoms of constipation and grapes are no exception, thanks to generous fiber content. Fiber helps maintain regular digestion and bowel movements. Grapes also contain a significant amount of water to help keep things moving. A healthy diet with plenty of fiber and water is beneficial, especially to those with constipation issues. Ingesting high-fiber foods like grapes can turn these issues around within a few days.
We already learned grapes can help with a healthy heart, and blood pressure is an important part of heart health. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to serious consequences like heart attacks and strokes. High sodium can lead to high blood pressure. Grapes are high in potassium and fiber, nutrients that reduce the negative effects of sodium.
As mentioned earlier, grapes have been given a bad rap in the past for being a high-sugar fruit. Previous studies on diabetes and fruit consumption show grapes are actually one of the good ones. The Diabetes Association recommends grapes as a great option to satisfy urges for sweets. Make sure you note the number of carbs along with the sugar, though, as grapes do include both, and be cautious when eating raisins. They have a higher sugar and carb content. It has also been said that resveratrol helps reduce the chance of diabetic neuropathy.
Although no studies have been done to prove it, the anti-inflammatory compound quercetin found in grapes may treat certain allergy symptoms. A runny nose, sneezing, congestion, and other common allergy symptoms can improve when you eat grapes daily. Don’t expect miracles, but people who deal with allergies can probably agree this natural treatment is worth a try.
Migraine headaches are very painful and can make it difficult to keep up normal daily functions. Red wine is known as a trigger for migraines, but grapes and grape juice help relieve them. Grapes are high in Vitamin C, A, and B, and other antioxidants. The riboflavin in grape seeds can also relieve migraine symptoms.
Antioxidants are proven fighters when it comes to helping the body’s immune system work better. Grapes are a great source of these powerful nutrients. Studies have found stilbenoid compounds such as resveratrol work with Vitamin D to increase cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide or the CAMP gene. This helps make the immune system stronger and better able to fight off harmful bacteria.
Antioxidants improve brain health. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Association credits them with slowing the memory decline that leads to disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Resveratrol is also credited with delaying memory loss, and studies consistently show that grapes offer this benefit. Researchers feel the fruit is useful because it reduces oxidative stress in the brain, which leads to a healthier blood flow through the brain, and clearer function.