Top 5 health benefits of grapes
A registered nutritionist explains the health benefits of grapes, from the nutrients they provide to their fibre content, plus how many count towards your five-a-day.
What are grapes?
Grapes are small, oval fruits that grow in bunches on vines. Depending on the variety of the grape, they may be eaten fresh, dried to make raisins, or used to make wine, jam, juice or vinegar.
The colour of the grape varieties ranges from very pale green through to dark purple. On the outside is a thin, semi-translucent skin and on the inside is soft, juicy flesh. Some grapes contain seeds, whilst others are seedless. In the UK and Europe, grapes are harvested from late August until around November, before it gets too cold.
Nutritional profile of grapes
An 80g serving of grapes (green) provides:
- 50Kcal /210KJ
- 0.6g Protein
- 0.2g Fat
- 12.2g Carbohydrates
- 12.2g Sugars
- 1.0g Fibre
- 174mg Potassium
- 5mcg Folate
- 2mg Vit C
An 80g serving of grapes, which is about a handful, counts as one of your five-a-day. Discover more in our five-a-day infographic.
Top 5 health benefits of grapes
1. Source of protective antioxidants
Grapes are a source of natural compounds including polyphenols, catechins and anthocyanins. As well as providing the pigment to determine the colour of the grape, these compounds have protective antioxidant properties. Indeed, grape juice is one of the richest sources of phenolic compounds among fruits, with the most talked about being resveratrol.
2. May support heart health
Grapes provide both fibre and potassium, which are helpful in their support of heart function including blood pressure. The polyphenols in grapes including resveratrol and quercetin are also thought to benefit the cardiovascular system, protecting it from inflammatory and oxidative damage.
3. May support eye health
The antioxidant compounds in grapes, such as resveratrol as well as two fat-soluble carotenoids called lutein and zeaxanthin are protective against the UV light which can damage the delicate cells of the eye. Lutein and zeaxanthin are especially useful as they appear to protect the macula of the eye from the effects of blue light from devices like mobiles and tablets.
4. May boost brain power
A small study reported that drinking 230ml of purple grape juice appeared to improve reaction time and calmness, suggesting it may help mood and speed of cognitive processing. Studies in rats have also supported the effects of compounds like resveratrol on learning, memory and mood. However, more evidence needs to be gathered before such benefits can be confirmed.
5. May help manage blood sugar
Technically, grapes are a moderate sugar food providing 15g of carbohydrates per 100g. Because these are naturally occurring sugars as opposed to ‘free’ sugars, when grapes are eaten in their whole form, you don’t need to worry about cutting down on them.
Grapes also have a low glycaemic index, which is the measure of how quickly a food (when eaten on its own) raises your blood sugar levels. In addition to this some of the natural compounds in grapes, like resveratrol, appear to have a beneficial effect on blood sugar management.
Are grapes safe for everyone?
Grape allergy is considered rare but 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.
Those on certain prescription medication, including beta-blockers and warfarin, should consume grapes in moderation. Refer to your GP or registered dietician for further guidance
Read more of our health benefits guides:
This article was reviewed on 16 November 2021 by Kerry Torrens.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified Nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
The author of this article, 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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