Black grapes are a delicious and nutritious fruit, popularly eaten out of hand or in products like grape jelly, grape juice or wine. The health benefits of dark grapes include a high level of polyphenols and antioxidant activity and the provision of vitamins and minerals.
Black grapes are high in antioxidants, such as the polyphenols resveratrol and anthocyanins. They are also a healthy source of energy and hydration.
America Loves Grapes
Grapes are the fourth most consumed fruit in America after apples, oranges and bananas. If you consider fresh fruit without adding juice and canned fruit consumption, grapes are the third most eaten at 5 pounds per person per year, according to statistics from the USDA in 2017. For the current population of 327.2 million people in the United States, that means 1,636,000000 pounds of grapes are consumed in the U.S. per year!
Grapes have been consumed throughout the world for fruit and wine since time immemorial. The grape is known for being one of the first fruit crops ever to be domesticated. Grapes are a highly valuable crop throughout the world; they are used for winemaking, eaten fresh out of hand, pressed into juice or dried into raisins.
Archaeologists have discovered that grapes have been cultivated and domesticated from about 6,000 to 8,000 years ago, beginning in the Near East and spreading throughout Europe and then to the United States.
The Nutritional Value of Grapes
Black grapes and other grape varieties are high in nutrition and low in calories. They're popularity as an easy and delicious sweet snack is excellent news for those looking to add essential vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds to their diet.
Black grapes are mostly water — 82 percent water, to be exact according to the USDA. This is not a bad attribute to have though since water adds volume in food to help control appetite and add hydration to your diet. The calories in grapes ring in at 62 calories per cup (92 grams), with 0.3 grams of fat, no cholesterol, less than 2 milligrams of sodium and 15.8 grams of total carbohydrate.
One cup of black grapes contains roughly 4 percent of your daily recommended amount for potassium, based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. Black grapes are also high in vitamin C, providing 4 percent of your daily value. They also offer 11 percent of your daily value for vitamin K, which is a vitamin that is important for blood clotting.
If you're trying to avoid sugars, even the healthier kinds found in grapes, be aware that grapes contain 15 grams of sugars, about 30 percent of your daily recommended amount, in 1 cup. Also notable are the minerals that grapes provide, which are mainly potassium, manganese and copper.
Read more: Black Grapes vs. Red Grapes
Black Grapes Contain Powerful Antioxidants
Antioxidants are organic compounds found in plants and other foods that help to prevent oxidative stress. According to an October 2018 study published in Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry, oxidative stress can cause diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables help to reduce oxidative stress and can help prevent such diseases.
Different grape varieties contain unique antioxidant properties. These individual antioxidant properties produce their different capabilities to reduce the risk of oxidative stress-related diseases. According to the 2018 study in Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry, the antioxidant capacities in peels, seeds, wine and juice of grapes have been studied. In this review, the results are shown for grape pulp.
The most potent grape varieties providing the best antioxidant bang for your buck were observed to be the Pearl Black Grape, followed by the Seedless Red Grape, the Summer Black Grape, the Pearl Green Grape and the Black Grape.
The Powerful Benefits of Antioxidants
One type of antioxidants found in black grapes are polyphenols, which are organic compounds found plentiful in plants. According to a September 2018 review article published in Frontiers in Nutrition, various research has shown polyphenols contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and help to prevent diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, obesity, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, lung damage, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes and neurogenerative disorders.
These benefits are found when people consume a polyphenol-rich diet over the long-term. Polyphenols are thought to help negate the harmful effects of free radicals, as well as protecting against oxidative stress through the production of hydrogen peroxide. The creation of hydrogen peroxide helps regulate your immune system responses.
Black Grapes Contain Resveratrol
Polyphenols have long been thought to be anti-carcinogenic, ceasing cellular growth and preventing tumors from proliferating. One such polyphenol is called resveratrol and is found in wine made from grapes.
Resveratrol has anti-obesogenic effects due to being anti-inflammatory, and through inhibiting the metabolic formation of fat (lipogenesis), says the 2018 Frontiers in Nutrition article. Another way that polyphenols help prevent obesity is by inhibiting starch, fat and protein digestion in the gastrointestinal tract. They also help to increase calorie burn, which leads to better weight loss and weight control.
Cholesterol oxidation can be blocked by resveratrol, which helps reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, resveratrol improves ventricular health, which contributes, along with other protective effects, to lower blood pressure.
Black Grapes Contain Anthocyanins
Other powerful antioxidants found in dark blue and purple fruits and vegetables, including black grapes, are called anthocyanins, a type of flavanoid says the 2018 Frontiers in Nutrition article. Anthocyanins are thought to help prevent and manage Type 2 diabetes. Research has shown fasting glucose levels, glucose tolerance, as well as insulin sensitivity improves through eating foods high in anthocyanins.
The specific types of cancer that flavonoids such as anthocyanins could help prevent are prostate, colon, epithelial, breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Other foods that contain anthocyanins include blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, eggplant, plums, purple cauliflower, black currents and pomegranate.
Black Grapes Contain Antimicrobial Properties
According to a November 2015 research article published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology, the pills of black grapes contain a large amount of polyphenolic antimicrobial compounds that can control the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms. Such is the case for otherwise antibiotic-resistant pathogens and toxin-producing molds.
In the study, bacterial strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcusfaecalis, Enterobacteraerogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Escherichiacoli that were antibiotic-resistant were tested against different antibacterial grape extracts. The fungal activity of Penicilliumchrysogenum, Penicilliumexpansum, Aspergillusniger and Aspergillusversicolor was also tested against black grapes by monitoring their ungerminated spores.
The study revealed that the black grapes' antibacterial properties significantly inhibited every strain bacteria except for S.Typhimurium and E.coli; all of the mold species were inhibited as well. These types of bacteria are potentially deadly to humans and are typically known as foodborne pathogens. The molds in this study are known to have toxic effects causing genetic, DNA mutations, damage to kidneys and to be tumor-forming. This study points to black grape extracts being beneficial for preventing deadly types of bacteria and health-damaging molds.
Black Grapes Provide Vitamin K
As mentioned previously, black grapes provide 11 percent of your daily value of recommended vitamin K based on a 2,000 calorie a day diet. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin K is essential for blood clotting and bone health, as well as other tasks.
Your individual need for vitamin K depends on your age and sex. Adult men aged 19 and older need 120 micrograms per day, whereas adult women 19 years and older need 90 micrograms per day. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding and are 19 years and older, 90 micrograms are still sufficient.
It is important to note, though, that according to a 2018 article in Scientific Reports, vitamin K deficiency can be critical for pregnant women and their newborn babies. Vitamin K deficiency can cause hemorrhage by slowing blood clotting. This issue can occur in either the baby or the mother. Pregnant women often require a higher amount of nutrients and experience a lack of nutrition. Making things even worse, commonly consumed drugs during pregnancy, such as Heparin and carbamazepine, can prevent vitamin K metabolism.
This lack of vitamin K absorption can affect the fetus or newborn baby, resulting in skeletal abnormalities or risk of intracranial hemorrhage. Vitamin K malabsorption may also possibly be linked to miscarriage, although more research is needed. It is traditional for newborns to receive vitamin K shot at birth to prevent bleeding disorders.
Pregnant women are encouraged to eat foods high in vitamin K such as black grapes, blueberries, figs, leafy green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, lettuce and kale, as well as meat, cheese, eggs and soybeans.
The NIH also notes that people with cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, ulcerative colitis and short bowel syndrome require considerably more amounts of vitamin K. These conditions prevent proper absorption of vitamin K. Those who have had bariatric weight-loss surgery may also require increased vitamin K intake.
In healthy individuals, vitamin K is typically provided in sufficient quantities in a healthy, varied diet. This vitamin helps to prevent conditions such as osteoporosis and coronary heart disease. It may also be essential to eat more foods containing vitamin K, such as black grapes, after you have been on a course of antibiotics.
The use of antibiotics can decrease the amount of vitamin K produced in your gut and might need to be replaced through diet. The NIH recommends that you get the majority of your nutrients from food as opposed to supplements. Fermented foods provide an extra boost of vitamin K.
An August 2019 review published in Beverages discusses the use of wine sub-products for you and drinks such as infusions, tisanes and decoctions. These previously discarded waste products contain beneficial compounds such as glutathione, melatonin and trehalose. The yeast produces these compounds during the alcoholic fermentation process for wine.
The review reveals that byproducts from wine vineyards have traditionally been used for medicinal purposes such as treating nausea, diarrhea, gastroenteritis, skin disease, bleeding, pain and inflammation. The byproducts of winemaking can be put to good use by creating jams, juices, jellies, raisins and molasses. The review discusses the health benefits of using fermented grapes called Mom skins, and seeds to prepare infusions or tisanes. These fermented products would offer an extra boost of vitamin K in your diet.
Add Grapes to Your Diet
You can easily add delicious meals containing grapes to your diet. A sample menu for a day using up your grapes could include these recipes from LIVESTRONG.com:
Of course, grapes are also excellent eaten out of hand. Some people even swear by eating the frozen, especially on a hot day. Kids love them as popular sports fuel, so bring them to your child's next soccer practice for a hydrating treat.
- USDA: "Grapes"
- USDA: "Apples and Oranges Are America’s Top Fruit Choices"
- Molecules: A Journal of Synthetic Chemistry and Natural Product Chemistry: "Comparison of Antioxidant Activities of Different Grape Varieties"
- Frontiers In Nutrition: "The Role of Polyphenols in Human Health and Food Systems: A Mini-Review"
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America: "Genetic Structure and Domestication History of the Grape"
- The Indian Journal of Pharmacology: "Antimicrobial Properties of Black Grape (Vitis Vinifera L.) Peel Extracts Against Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogenic Bacteria and Toxin Producing Molds"
- Scientific Reports: "Vitamin K Supplementation During Pregnancy for Improving Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis"
- Beverages: "Grape Infusions: The Flavor of Grapes and Health-Promoting Compounds in Your Tea Cup"
- National Institues of Health: "Vitamin K"