Dark grape juice contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that promotes the flow of blood throughout your body, ultimately leading to lower “bad cholesterol,” healthier blood pressure and a reduced risk of blood clots and blood vessel damage. But if you suffer from an iron deficiency, drinking grape juice won't help you much since both light and dark grape juice are low in this important mineral. In fact, drinking dark grape juice may actually interfere with your body's ability to absorb iron.
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Lack of enough iron causes fatigue and weakness. It can affect anyone who has an iron-poor diet, experiences excessive blood loss or has trouble absorbing it. In fact, iron deficiency anemia afflicts up to 30 percent of the world's population, notes the World Health Organization. Children. Women in their menstruating years and pregnant women are most at risk for the condition. Iron is crucial for proper mental and physical development in children, as well as in preventing labor-related deaths in pregnant women.
Iron in Grape Juice
Light or dark grape juice contribute only a small amount of the iron adults need daily. Depending on the variety, a 6 oz. glass of grape juice supplies only about 1 to 2 percent of the average amount of iron needed every day.
Dark Grape Juice and Iron
A 2002 joint study by Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that excess amounts of dark grape juice, sometimes known as red grape juice, may actually interfere with the body’s ability to absorb iron from other food sources. The research, published in the "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry," indicated that the compounds that make some grapes purple or blue, called polyphenols, may also lead to iron-deficiency anemia. If your physician says iron deficiency is a concern, ask about switching to light grape juice as one measure to reduce iron loss.
Oysters, liver, turkey, chicken, lean red meat and fish are the highest sources of heme iron, the form of iron your body absorbs most easily. Non-heme iron sources include legumes, dark molasses, fortified bread, fortified cereal, cooking greens, nuts and seeds. If you are a vegetarian who is experiencing iron deficiency despite eating a variety of non-heme iron sources, your physician may suggest iron supplements. Increasing your intake of vitamin C may also help your body better absorb iron.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry"; Red Grape Juice Inhibits Iron Availability: Application of an in Vitro Digestion/Caco-2 Cell ModelJ; Francesca Boato, et al.; Oct. 2002
- MayoClinic.com: Grape juice drink, canned; Grape juice: Same heart benefits as wine?
- World Health Organization: Iron Deficiency Anemia
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Iron
- University of North Dakota: Dining Services: 6 oz. Grape Juice: Nutrition Facts
- EurekAlert.org: Too Much Grape Juice Could Cause Iron Deficiency; Dec. 2002
- Welch's: 100% Grape Juice
- RecipeTips: Grapes, Red or Green (European Type, Such as Thompson Seedless), Raw