When was the last time you ate green grapes? Most dieters avoid these fruits because of their sugar content. While it's true that grapes are quite high in sugar, you can't compare them to ice cream, chocolate or cake. This fruit offers both flavor and nutrition, infusing your body with vitamins, antioxidants and phytochemicals.
Green grapes are higher in sugars than other fruits, but they also contain fiber and potent antioxidants. Dietary fiber slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream and increases satiety. Certain nutrients in grapes have been shown to increase fat breakdown and suppress the formation of new fat cells.
Nutritional Value of Green Grapes
Most grape varieties, including green seedless grapes, are loaded with phytonutrients that keep your body functioning at its peak. According to a review published in Plos One in August 2014, this fruit exhibits antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. Its beneficial effects are due to the high levels of flavonoids and phenolic compounds. The antioxidants in grapes appear to be particularly effective against liver cancer cells.
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Green grapes also boast large doses of vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Vitamin C is required for collagen synthesis, cell formation, tissue repair, wound healing and other important processes, as reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It also acts as an antioxidant, protecting your cells and tissues from oxidative damage. Furthermore, it regenerates other antioxidants in your body.
One serving of green grapes provides 4 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C. A diet low in this nutrient may lead to scurvy, a disease that affects collagen synthesis and causes fatigue, gum inflammation, joint pain, ecchymoses and tooth loss, as the NIH points out. Children with vitamin C deficiency are at a greater risk for bone disorders.
Some people are more likely to become deficient in vitamin C than others. Smokers, for example, need an extra 35 milligrams of this nutrient per day. Cancer patients and people who have disorders that impair their ability to absorb nutrients require large doses of vitamin C.
This isn't the only beneficial nutrient in grapes, though. Vitamin K plays a vital role in bone health and blood clotting. When consumed in adequate amounts, it may protect against coronary artery disease and arterial calcification. Potassium, one of the most abundant minerals in green grapes, supports nerve and muscle contraction, regulates heart rate and keeps your blood pressure within normal limits.
Read more: 10 Weird Signs You're Not Getting Enough Nutrients
Grape Calories and Carbs
What about the calories and carbs in grapes? Contrary to popular belief, green seedless grapes are lower in calories and only slightly higher in sugar than other fruits. One serving delivers the following calories and carbs, in addition to various nutrients:
- 90 calories
- 24 grams of carbs
- 0.9 grams of protein
- 0.9 grams of fat
- 1 gram of fiber
- 23 grams of sugars
- 19 milligrams of calcium
- 0.3 milligrams of iron
- 15 milligrams of vitamin C
According to the USDA, green grapes are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese, vitamin A, vitamin E and B-complex vitamins. A single serving provides more than 18 percent of the daily recommended intake of copper, 5 percent of the daily recommended amount of potassium and 15 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin K.
One serving of green, seedless grapes is the equivalent of one cup. Rich in fiber, these fruits fill you up quickly and keep hunger at bay.
In fact, the fiber in grapes might even help you lose a few pounds by reducing your daily food intake. According to a February 2015 controlled trial published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, eating more fiber can make dieting easier and aid in weight loss.
Are Grapes Really That Healthy?
The benefits of grapes might surprise you. These tiny fruits are chock-full of nutrients that ward off diseases and support overall health. For example, a review posted in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in August 2014 assessed the cardioprotective effects of grapes. The flavonoids in these fruits have been shown to reduce oxidative stress, inhibit platelet aggregation and improve endothelial function. (Endothelial cells inside the heart and blood vessels help control vascular function, blood clotting, immune function and platelet adhesion.)
Read more: The 14 Best Foods for Your Heart
But that's not all. According to the same review, grapes may decrease inflammation and high blood pressure as well as LDL oxidation. LDL, which stands for low‐density lipoprotein, is the "bad" cholesterol linked to a greater risk of heart disease, coronary artery disease, angina and cardiovascular problems.
Grapes may also improve diabetes and heart disease symptoms, as reported in the January 2015 edition of the journal Molecules. Researchers attribute these findings to their high levels of polyphenols.
These fruits exhibit cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. Polyphenols, a class of antioxidants in grapes, have been shown to improve blood lipid profile and protect against long-term oxidative stress.
Despite its high sugar content, this functional food may help prevent diabetes and alleviate its symptoms. The polyphenols in grapes fight inflammation and oxidative stress, which in turn, may reduce diabetes risk. Furthermore, they may improve glycemic control and lower the odds of heart disease in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Most studies have been conducted on red grapes, which boast large amounts of resveratrol. This polyphenol may benefit people with cancer, obesity, stroke, kidney disease, hypertension, Alzheimer's, obesity and other ailments. According to a September 2017 review published in Precision Oncology, resveratrol displays anti-inflammatory properties and mimics the effects of caloric restriction.
Red and purple grapes are the highest in resveratrol. Green grapes contain this antioxidant too, but in smaller amounts. Just make sure you don't remove the skins as this is where resveratrol is found.
Do Grapes Support Weight Loss?
When it comes to weight loss, eating grapes is probably the last thing on your mind. After all, these fruits are high in carbs and sugars, right?
That's true, but they also contain fiber, which slows sugar absorption into the bloodstream and doesn't raise blood glucose levels. Cake, candies, chocolate and other sweets cause insulin and blood sugar spikes while adding empty calories to your diet.
Dietary fiber increases satiety and keeps you full longer. It also supports digestive health and normalizes bowel movements. Swapping grapes for sugary snacks can help reduce your calorie intake and bring you closer to your weight loss goals.
Read more: Grapes and Weight Loss
In addition, resveratrol has been shown to help with fat loss. This natural compound in grapes improves insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, according to a January 2015 review in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry. Furthermore, it stimulates fat breakdown, inhibits the formation of new fat cells and triggers fat cell death, according to a report published in the journal Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism in October 2015.
This doesn't mean that green grapes are a miracle food that melts away fat. You still need to eat mindfully and clean up your diet to reap the benefits. Grapes cannot offset the effects of bad eating. Enjoy them as part of a balanced diet, keep an eye on your portions and get more exercise to lose those pesky pounds.
- Plos One: "Antioxidant and Antiproliferative Activities of Twenty-Four Vitis vinifera Grapes"
- NIH: "Vitamin C"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Red or Green Grapes"
- NIH: "Vitamin K"
- MedlinePlus: "Potassium"
- USDA: "Green Seedless Grapes"
- Annals.org: "Single-Component Versus Multicomponent Dietary Goals for the Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Trial"
- Wiley Online Library: "Effect of Grape and Other Berries on Cardiovascular Health"
- MedlinePlus: "LDL: The 'Bad' Cholesterol"
- MDPI: "Grape Polyphenols’ Effects in Human Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes"
- Wiley Online Library: "Health Benefits of Resveratrol: Evidence From Clinical Studies"
- Nature.com: "The Therapeutic Potential of Resveratrol: A Review of Clinical Trials"
- The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center: "5 Foods That Help Lower Your Cancer Risk"
- Oregon State University: Linus Pauling Institute: "Resveratrol - Food Sources"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet"
- Joslin.org: "How Does Fiber Affect Blood Glucose Levels?"
- Karger: "Modulation of SIRT1-Foxo1 Signaling Axis by Resveratrol: Implications in Skeletal Muscle Aging and Insulin Resistance"
- Taylor & Francis Online: "Prevention of Obesity by Dietary Resveratrol: How Strong Is the Evidence?"