February 6, 2023

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13 Health Benefits of Grapes: Science-Backed Effects Explained

Grapes offer many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, improving memory and mood, and protecting against infections. 



This article discusses the nutritional profile and 13 health benefits of grapes. It also explains how many grapes to eat to experience their benefits and concerns to consider when adding grapes to your diet.






The word “diet” can have many meanings. This article uses the term “diet” to refer to an eating lifestyle rather than a temporary change in how you eat.

Karina Sharpe/Stocksy United





Grapes can have many health benefits. These include:

  • antioxidant
  • antimicrobial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-carcinogenic properties





Grapes are also highly linked to reducing heart disease, specifically high blood pressure. 





Grapes may contain other helpful components, including: 

  • phenolic acids
  • flavonoids
  • anthocyanins
  • stilbenes
  • lipids
  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • phytosterols
  • essential fatty acids
  • tocols





The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lists the following nutrition information for a 100-gram (g) portion of raw grapes based on a 2,000-calorie diet. 





Grapes have been associated with improving heart health. One main benefit may also be lowering blood pressure. 





Specifically, grapes contain molecules that help blood vessels relax, which can help lower blood pressure. Grapes can also lower inflammation and oxidate stress, which helps decrease high blood pressure levels.





Learn more ways to lower blood pressure.





A 2021 study found that people who ate a daily dose of 46 g of grape powder for 4 weeks increased gut microbes associated with heart health. 





They also lowered their total cholesterol levels and HDL and LDL levels. High cholesterol levels are associated with an increased risk of heart problems, such as heart attacks. 





Learn more about high cholesterol.





Grapes contain high levels of polyphenols. A
2018 study says polyphenols work to promote immunity in many ways. 





For instance, polyphenol receptors activate the immune system to tackle pathogens more effectively. 





According to a
2020 study, red grapes have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 





Specifically, grape polyphenols may help block oxidative systems and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, which stop oxidation and inflammation from starting or progressing.   





Learn about an anti-inflammatory diet.





According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, doctors are studying grape seeds and skins for their potential to reduce the risk of cancer. Doctors believe grape seeds and skin may lead to changes in the gut that influence genes involved in cancer development. 





Read more about cancer-fighting foods.





Although grapes contain around 17 g of carbs per serving, using a grape extract may help maintain blood sugar levels for those with diabetes. 





For instance, one 2020 study found that Merlot grape pomace extract may have the potential to keep blood sugars stabilized. As a result of the study, doctors are studying the extract in clinical trials as a diabetic treatment. 





Read about the types of diabetes.





Grapes and food compounds that contain grapes, including wine and grape juice, contain
melatonin





Melatonin is the hormone responsible for inducing sleep in both humans and animals. Eating grapes regularly may help promote healthy levels of melatonin in the body. 





A
2017 study suggests grapes may protect brain health and could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  





Although the study was small and involved only 10 participants with mild cognitive decline, it did find that participants who received a grape compound did not experience declines in the area of the brain most associated with Alzheimer’s disease.





Read more about Alzheimer’s disease.





In animals, diets rich in grapes are associated with improved bone health. A 2019 animal study found that grape extract helps with bone healing and preventing bone loss. 





Another 2019 study also found that grape extract helped promote bone healing in adult male rats. 





Grape compounds may help prevent age-related changes in the eyes. For instance, a clinical trial is investigating how taking 46 g/day of freeze-dried table grape powder may help prevent age-related macular degeneration. 





A
2022 systemic review revealed ample evidence that grapes can enhance cognition, both after short- and long-term consumption. Some of the enhanced cognitive skills cited in the studies included increased memory, executive functioning, perception, and verbal skills. 





The same review also found at least one study with evidence that grape extract may help improve mood and decrease depression and anxiety symptoms in older adults. 





A
2020 study concluded that grapes have antibacterial and antifungal properties. It noted that compounds made with grapes could have practical applications, including skin care products and cancer-fighting treatments. 





Researchers found compounds made of grape seeds may be the most effective against bacteria, followed by those with grape skins. 





Seeds and the flesh of grapes contain helpful ingredients, so you may benefit most from eating fresh, whole grapes. 





However, whole grapes and foods with grape extracts
may have health benefits. You may get health benefits from grapes by eating whole grapes or foods and drinks containing grape extracts. 





In general, you may find the most benefits from grapes in the following order:

  • fresh, whole grapes
  • cold-pressed grape extract
  • grape compounds
  • grape juice
  • wine

How many grapes a day should you eat?





Everyone has varied dietary needs, so most adults should have 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit daily, according to the USDA. 





One serving of grapes is ¾ of a cup, per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines. 





According to the American College of Gastroenterology, grapes are a low-FODMAP food. If you’re following a low-fructose diet, grapes may be fine. 





However, grapes do contain sugar. People with diabetes or those following a low carb diet may need to portion their grapes. 





Grapes can also be problematic for some people with digestive system issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You may need to experiment with how grapes affect your body. 





Finally, grapes are a choking hazard, especially in young children. If you serve grapes to young children, cut the grapes lengthwise and into quarters. 





Grapes can be a healthy addition to a diet. They include antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.





Grapes may help prevent heart disease-related complications, specifically lowering blood pressure. They are being studied for potentially reducing the risk of age-related eye problems. 





For most adults, grapes, which have many vitamins, minerals, and fiber, can be part of the recommended 1-2 cups daily fruit serving. 





Grapes may not be ideal for everyone. If you are following a low carb diet, have a digestive disorder such as IBS, or find that grapes do not agree with your system, consider limiting your grape consumption.





Also, grapes can be a high risk choking hazard, so be sure to cut grapes into quarters when serving them to small children.