The Incredible Health Benefits of Grapes and Red Wine

written by Dr. Bolanle Aina - Nov 15, 2021

Photo Credit: by Cup of Couple, Pexels.com
Photo Credit: by Cup of Couple, Pexels.com

You are what you eat. Did you know that the food we consume determines, for the most part, what is going on inside our bodies? I bet you knew that already. If you want better looking skin, shiny hair, stronger heart, sharper brain, why not pay a closer attention to your diet and the food you consume daily. There are many health benefits of grapes and red wine. Most of the health benefits of grapes and red wine are related to the bioactive contents such as polyphenols and several antioxidants present in the grapes.

These bioactive ingredients can help prevent various diseases by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in various body organs. If you love eating grapes, if you love drinking red wine or even if you are not a great fan, read on to learn more about the health benefits of grapes and red wine.

Nutritional content of grapes

Grapes come in several shades and varieties such as red grapes, green grapes or even purple grapes. Grapes can be eaten fresh, frozen, dried to make raisins, or can be used to make things like wine, jam, juice and vinegar.

Red and green grapes are quite similar nutritionally for example 100g of grapes (of either color) contains around 64 calories with a water content of 81%, negligible fat and about 0.6g of protein. Grapes are also rich in fiber, vitamin B’s, vitamin C, Vitamin E, and minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. Naturally occurring sugars in grapes (glucose and fructose) can also provide a burst of energy when you each it as a snack which is about 17grams per 100g of grapes.

Red grapes vs green grapes

The main difference between red and green grapes is in the antioxidant constituents. The red pigment of red grapes is mainly due to the pigmentation from anthocyanins, quercertin and other pigments in the skin of the grapes. While green grapes also contain antioxidants, these pigmented ingredients are absent in green grapes. For this reason, red grapes are deemed to have greater health benefits compared to the green grapes. However, eating green grapes will always be better than eating nothing.

Grape polyphenols

The phenolic compounds in grapes mainly include anthocyanins, flavanols, flavonols, stilbenes (resveratrol), quercetin and phenolic acids. Anthocyanins are pigments, which are abundant in grape skins and not the flesh. By far, the most studied grape polyphenol is resveratrol.

The polyphenolic composition of grapes differs from that of their corresponding wines. Some of the reactions occurring during the winemaking process may have changed the constituents. However, the beneficial effects of the polyphenols remain despite the winemaking processing.

French paradox

Interests in the health benefits of red wine was initially spurred by the French paradox. French paradox refers to the observation from epidemiological studies that the French population shows relatively lower CHD incidence or mortality rate compared to other western population despite having diets similar in high fat and fatty acid content. Therefore light-moderate red wine consumption that is predominant in the French culture was proposed to be responsible for that observation. Although this paradox is widely debatable in the scientific community, a large number of epidemiological studies and meta-analysis have consistently shown that light–moderate drinking of red wine has a protective effect against coronary heart disease.

Benefits of Grapes and Red wine on the heart

Several scientific evidence about the heart health benefits of grapes and red wine bioactive agents exists in the literature.

1. Reduce risk of blood clots formation: antioxidants in grapes possess antiplatelet activities which makes the blood to flow freely and thus reduces the risk of blood clots that may cause stroke or a heart attack.

2. Reduce low density lipoprotein (bad cholesterol)

3. Prevent damage to blood vessels

4. Help maintain a healthy blood pressure

Polyphenols and antioxidants in grapes exert their beneficial effects by reducing markers of inflammation. Grape antioxidants help to clear out toxic substances such as reactive oxygen species that can cause damage out of the body system thereby preventing disease.

Other health benefits

The health benefits of grapes are not limited to the cardiovascular system. Several polyphenols found in grapes and grape products have shown anticancer, antimicrobial, antidiabetic and antiaging properties in experimental settings. This is not to say that eating grapes can cure these diseases but eating grapes can definitely help increase the ability of our bodies to deal with such diseases, should they occur. Grape is one of many superfoods can be eaten for super health as well as used for healthy selfcare routines.

Red wine vs grape juice

Studies showed that grape juice exhibits antioxidant activity similar to that found in red wines. The main effects of red wine and grape juice in humans were a reduction of body mass index, waist circumference, glycemia, plasma lipid peroxidation, total cholesterol, LDL-c, triglycerides, blood pressure, and homocysteine levels (inflammatory marker). Both wine and grape juice possess numerous bioactive compounds that are potentially responsible for many beneficial effects on human health.

Recipes:

So, if you are not already eating grapes, here are 2 easy recipes to incorporate grapes into your diet

1) Banana grape smoothie

This easy and healthy smoothie recipe combines and preserves the nutrients and vitamins of grapes and banana with benefits of plant based almond milk and yoghurt. Banana grape smoothie can easily be served as a healthy breakfast beverage.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Serves: 2 servings

Ingredients:

* 1 cup of seedless Black or Red grapes,

* 1 frozen sliced banana

* ¼ cup almond milk

* 1/3 cup yogurt

Directions: Add grapes and frozen banana to the blender, add almond milk and yoghurt, blend until smooth. Pour smoothies into glass cups to serve.

2) Fruit salad

Grapes are a great addition to any bowl of fruit salad. You can get as many fruit types as you want. Here is an example below that can be eaten as a healthy snack.

Prep time: 15minutes

Serves: 8-10 servings

Ingredients:

* 1 lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered

* 6 oz. blueberries

* 6 oz. raspberries

* 3 kiwis, peeled and sliced

* 1 orange, peeled and wedges cut in half

* 2 apples, peeled and chopped

* 1 mango, peeled and chopped

* 2 c. grapes

* 1/4 c. honey

* 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice

* Zest of 1 lemon

Directions: In a small bowl whisk together honey, orange juice, and lemon zest. Add fruits to a large bowl and pour over dressing, tossing gently to combine. Chill until ready to serve.

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DISCLAIMER

While the above article is based on thorough research, we do not claim to offer a substitute for medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider. The article was written for information and educational purposes only. We aim to provide helpful information to our readers, but cannot provide a treatment, diagnosis, or consultation of any sort, and we are in no way indicating that any particular drug is safe or appropriate for you and your individual needs. To receive professional medical attention, you must see a doctor.