Ever wondered if grapes are a healthy snack option, or how many count towards your five-a-day? Nutritionist Nicola Shubrook explains the nutritional benefits of grapes.
What are grapes?
Grapes are small, round-oval fruits that grow in bunches on woody vines. Depending on the variety of grape, they can be eaten fresh, dried to make raisins, or can be used to make things like wine, jam, juice and vinegar.
Their colour may range from very pale green through to dark purple. On the outside is a thin, semi-translucent skin and on the inside is a soft, juicy flesh. Some grapes contain seeds and others are seedless.
There are over 10,000 different varieties of grapes grown worldwide. Italy is one of the biggest producers of grapes, alongside France and the United States, and the country they are grown in, along with the different terrain and climate, will affect when they are in season. In the UK, grapes are harvested from late August until around November, before it gets too cold.
Nutritional profile of grapes
Nutritionally, there isn’t a great deal of difference between red and green grapes – 100g of grapes (of either colour) contains around 64 calories with a water content of 81%, negligible fat and about 0.6g of protein.
Are grapes high in sugar?
Technically, grapes are a medium-sugar food with 16g of carbohydrates per 100g, but because they are are naturally occurring sugars (glucose and fructose), you don’t need to worry about cutting down on them.
Are grapes high in fibre?
Grapes contain around 1.2g of fibre, so while they don’t count as ‘high-fibre’, they are a good source to include in your diet.
What vitamins are found in grapes?
Both red and green grapes contain a mix of vitamins including B vitamins and especially folate, which is the food-based form of folic acid, and is important for the health of our blood cells and cardiovascular health. They also contain some vitamin C, which is a potent antioxidant and helps support the function of the immune system, and vitamin E which also plays a role in skin and eye health.
The main difference is that red grapes also contain beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A when consumed. Vitamin A may help to protect the eyes from age-related decline but it also plays a role in immune function by helping protect the mucus lining of the nose, throat and gut which acts as a barrier to infection.
What minerals are found in grapes?
Grapes are a good source of potassium, an electrolyte needed to help the body maintain its balance of fluid. They also contain some calcium, needed for strong bones, and magnesium which is one of the most essential minerals in the body and is important in brain health.
How many grapes count towards your five-a day?
80g of grapes, which is about a handful, counts as one of your five-a-day.
Discover more in our five-a-day infographic.
Can you be allergic to grapes?
Grape allergy is considered rare but yes, it is possible to be allergic to grapes. If you or someone else shows signs of an allergic reaction, such as wheezing, coughing or difficulty breathing, then this is a medical emergency and requires urgent treatment.
Read more on the NHS website about allergies.
Healthy grape recipes
This article was published on 29 April 2020.
Nicola Shubrook is a nutritional therapist and works with both private clients and the corporate sector. She is an accredited member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). Find out more at urbanwellness.co.uk.
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