Grapes are a source of vitamins and other nutrients with excellent nutritional properties beneficial to health.
What are grapes?
It is the fruit of a plant called a vine (Vitis vinifera). In addition, it is a trendy plant and widespread in many countries, especially in the northern hemisphere. Its fruits appear in the form of clusters that we know as grapes.
This fruit has white pulp, a small, oval, and sweet shape. On the outside, it is protected by fine leather of varied colours. Depending on the variety, it can turn from green to bright yellow. In addition, if it is a red grape, the evolution is from green to dark and intense red, sometimes bluish or purple.
Inside are the seeds or pips in the form of small grains.
Origin of the grapes
According to historical data, the vine (Vitis vinifera) originates in Asia, specifically from the Caucasus region. These foods have been consumed since prehistoric times. The original fruit was much smaller than we know since less productive vines were discarded by selection.
It began to be cultivated in the Neolithic era but was consumed wildly. From Asia, its cultivation extends to Europe, which, already in modern times, moves to the American continent.
These fruits have been part of the Mediterranean culture since ancient times and have been consumed since prehistoric times.
Cultures like the Greeks or the Romans wrote different stories about this fruit. In addition, it was part of the culture of these great civilizations. They even worshiped him through gods like Dionysus and Bacchus.
Cultivation of grapes
The grapes are grown in vines that are vine plantations. As a result, they provide us with these fantastic fruits, which are grapes. The vines can give bunches of up to 300 grapes depending on the variety and the plantation terrain.
The cultivation of these fruits is widespread throughout the world, especially in the northern hemisphere. Its popularity for cultivation is due, in large part, to being fruits with a lot of versatility when it comes to being consumed, used or transformed.
Europe is the leading producer of these fruits, with almost half of the world’s production. Next, the continent of Asia is the one that produces the most. It should be noted the American content that is increasingly investing in quality vineyard plants, becoming an egg on the market.
The United States has a more significant production than Spain, but it is a matter of size. Italy, France, the United States, Spain, Turkey, China, Argentina, Iran, Germany and Chile are the countries with the most production and order. The latter has stood out in recent years due to the number of exports. Spanish Wineries already have vine plantations (Vitis vinifera) in this country.
What is the grape season?
It is an autumn fruit that can be consumed practically throughout the year, depending on where it comes from. The natural season in Spain begins in August and lasts until December. In addition, they are trendy in Spain for the tradition of the twelve bells at the end of the year.
You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season, they provide us with more benefits for our health; they have a better aroma and are tastier, among other advantages.
How are grapes eaten?
The grape can be consumed in different ways. We always recommend that the fruit be fresh, raw and in season. It must be washed well before drinking it to eliminate possible chemical residues from treatment or vine fertilizers (Vitis vinifera).
In addition, this fruit is commonly consumed in the form of fruit juices or as dried fruit that we know as raisins.
They are also used in the preparation of different recipes.
Wort juice is trendy in many regions. The must is obtained from unfermented grape juice. It has many benefits thanks to the contribution of vitamins and mineral salts.
These foods have been used since ancient times for fermentation. This fermentation of the grapes results in wine.
In addition to wine, it is also known for making cava or champagne from the fermentation of fruit juice.
Is it wrong to swallow grape seeds?
In Spain, we are all witnesses as many people, our friends or family, take the seeds of the grapes in the celebration of the New Year’s Eve grapes. There are even those who peel them too.
From a nutritional point of view, it is not a bad thing to swallow the grape seeds. Also, it is not that it is not bad; it is that it is beneficial. Therefore, eating the whole grape, with the skin and seeds, has nutritional benefits for our health.
The part protecting the fruit provides antioxidants and fibre; the seeds contain vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and polyphenols. Nutrients that help us strengthen the immune system.
Types of grapes
These foods are some of the most cultivated on the planet and one of the oldest. Two-thirds are used to make wine, and one-third is used for direct eating.
These types of grapes usually are smaller in size than those that are eaten directly. In addition, they are also more acidic.
Some of those used for wine are also used for eating. This is the case with the Moscatel grape. This variety is used both to make wine and to eat. In addition, it is also used to dry them, making raisins.
We will focus in this article on table grapes, which are eaten directly. We recommend eating it with the skin and seeds to benefit from all its properties.
As we will see, many antioxidant properties are concentrated on the outside and provide us with natural fibre, among other benefits.
Varieties of table grapes
Table grapes can be grouped into the following varieties. They have different appearances, aromas, textures and properties but are all delicious.
White grapes, as their name suggests, are the lighter ones like the following:
Voluminous clusters of golden colour. Its flavour is lovely and smooth in texture. They ripen from mid-July to September, depending on the vineyard and the area. This variety is used for sweet wine, as a table grape, and to make raisins. They are used in many recipes.
Similar in colour, they are less sweet than the Muscat variety but more significant. These vineyards are very present in Italy and in the Spanish Levant.
3. Seedless Thompson, imperial y superior
We group these three varieties by their similarity. They are early maturing. They are less sweet than the previous ones, green in colour.
This variety is cultivated in the Alicante area. They are those that are traditionally consumed at the end of the year. Its pulp is crunchy with a thick greenish-yellow outer part. They mature from October to December.
Pink grapes, as their name suggests, are those with a pink hue like the following:
1. Flame seedless
We find the first that does not have seeds inside. Its flavour is sweet, and the outer part is reddish.
2. Red globe
The beans are round and more significant than average. The colour is pink, but its intensity can vary. It has a less sweet taste and crisp pulp. It is used in many recipes.
Less sweet in flavour than the white ones, it has a striking reddish exterior that can appear purple.
Black grapes, as their name suggests, are the darkest in colour and are as follows:
1. Alphonse lavallée
It presents large grains with fleshy pulp. It is a very visually attractive variety and comes from France. Its maturation is from mid-August to the end of October.
2. Black seedless
Another seedless variety with the colour of a very dark outer part.
3. Royal queen
This variety is not so dark. Also, the outer one is thick, and the pulp has a lot of juice.
They are obtained after losing a large part of the fruit’s water through drying in the sun. It is ideal that they are rich in sugars, with slight acidity, and do not have seeds inside.
They have nutritional characteristics different from fresh fruit. They are richer in potassium, fibre and B vitamins but contain less vitamin C and water. In addition, they provide us with many more calories—about 300 calories per 100 grams.
The most consumed varieties are Muscat, Corinth and Sultanas.
We find a fruit very rich in water, approximately 80%. In addition, they are rich in easily assimilated carbohydrates, about 17%—carbohydrates such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose.
It provides us with natural fibre that is mainly found in your skin. This fibre provides us with different benefits to our bodies.
Likewise, it provides us with different vitamins and minerals. It contains type C, although to a lesser extent than citrus fruits such as oranges. Type C of this fruit is assimilated very well thanks to the presence of flavonoid substances.
It also provides us beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A, an excellent antioxidant and essential nutrient for eye health.
In addition, group B vitamins are especially rich in vitamin B6, which nourishes our nervous system. They also provide us with minerals such as potassium. As well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and sodium.
What differentiates these fruits and makes them unique is that they are berries rich in phytonutrients. Black grapes are rich in anthocyanins and resveratrol, while quercetin stands out in white grapes.
How fattening is the grape?
If you think that grapes are fattening, you are not correct. Don’t worry about counting calories; each grain can provide approximately three calories. As we can see, it is a very insignificant amount of calories.
The grape is a fruit that does not make you fat.
With more than 80% water and thanks to its nutritional properties, we find a delicious fruit that does not make you fat.
Average nutritional value per 100 grams of fresh grape
|Total fat||0 g|
|Vitamin A||67 IU|
|C vitamin||6,5 mg|
|Vitamin B-2||1,50 mg|
|Vitamin B-9||2 mg|
Benefits of grapes
Due to their nutritional properties, these foods provide us with different benefits for our health. We can highlight the following:
1. It restores us physically and emotionally
Combining carbohydrates with B vitamins is ideal for improving mood and recovering from fatigue. Therefore, it is a natural toner for fatigue, anemia, physical stress or mental exhaustion.
2. Mild natural laxative
Grapes are a natural laxative, milder than other fruits like plums. Since ancient times it has been used by many people as a cleanser for autumn cures.
3. A powerful antioxidant
The antioxidant power of this food is essential. Antioxidants are natural substances that can prevent or delay some types of damage to cells.
Also, these natural substances are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables.
We can number vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercetin, lutein and lycopene, among others, as grape antioxidants.
The black grape has more antioxidants than the white grape since it contains resveratrol in its skin. Grape resveratrol helps us block free radicals related to aging and cell degeneration.
Most of this food’s antioxidants can be found in the seeds and skin.
- – El resveratrol
It is a powerful antioxidant found in the skin of black grapes. It protects the fruit against fungal infections by acting as a natural antibiotic for the vine.
Resveratrol is considered an element increasingly used in developing anti-aging treatments. In addition, several studies have been conducted where resveratrol is identified as a protector against heart disease, contributes to lowering blood glucose and protects against some degenerative diseases.
- – Other antioxidants present in grapes
Flavonoids like quercetin. In addition, anthocyanins make the plant pigments in black grapes. They also have tannins that act as powerful antioxidants.
4. For good eye health
This food provides us with antioxidant nutrients that contribute to good eye health.
One of these nutrients that is related to eye health is resveratrol. Therefore, according to related studies, it helps us reduce the possibility of the formation of cataracts, glaucoma and other related eye diseases.
In addition, they contain other antioxidant nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin that we can find in other fruits such as pear, custard apple or persimmon. They are ideal nutrients for eye health. Therefore, they prevent eye diseases.
5. Strengthens our natural defences
Thanks to nutrients such as vitamin C and other substances such as resveratrol, flavonoids, anthocyanins and tannins. These substances enhance our immune system.
In addition, grapes and red wine provide protective nutrients against various batteries and virus infections.
6. Ideal for weight loss diets
It is a fruit that gives us very few calories. In addition, it is rich in fibre and water, which makes this food a perfect ally for our weight loss diet.
7. Natural depurative
Thanks to their composition of water and fibre, we can consider them an excellent natural cleanser, just like the tamarind fruit.
8. Helps prevent cardiovascular diseases
It helps us in our cardiovascular system thanks to resveratrol and flavonoids. In addition, it provides us with potassium, which is related to good blood pressure levels.
Also, it is related to reducing the effects of hypertension and other heart diseases.
9. Favorable for controlling cholesterol
It is proven that a Mediterranean diet that includes grapes can be favourable for controlling and reducing high cholesterol levels.
Also, nutrients such as resveratrol are beneficial for both helping to lower cholesterol and for heart disease.
10. It May lower glucose levels
Grapes have a glycemic index (GI) of 45 which is relatively low. The glycemic index measures how quickly a food can raise your blood sugar (glucose) level.
On the other hand, the nutrients in grapes, such as resveratrol, also help control high glucose levels. A balanced diet that helps reduce glucose in sable is recommended to reduce the possibility of type 2 diabetes.
In conclusion, we find this fruit that, in a moderate proportion, helps us maintain a healthy weight. Also, grapes are essential for the amount of beneficial nutrients for our body.
All types of fruits are ideal for a healthy and varied diet. Similarly, by including grapes in our diet, we add delicious food that is also very beneficial for our health.
My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .
I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.