Grapes, properties and health benefits

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 vine (Vitis vinifera). In addition, it is a very popular 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, small in size and oval and sweet in shape. On the outside it is protected by a fine leather of varied color. Depending on the variety, it can turn from green at first 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) is believed to have its origin in Asia. More specifically from the Caucasus region. These foods have been consumed since prehistoric times. The original fruit was much smaller than the one we currently know, since less productive vines have been discarded by selection.

It began to be cultivated in the Neolithic era, but it was consumed wildly before. From Asia, its cultivation extends to Europe which, already in modern times, moves to the American continent.

Mediterranean culture

These fruits have been part of the Mediterranean culture since ancient times, since they have been consumed since prehistoric times.

Cultures such as the Greek or the Roman 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 that 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.

Producing countries

Currently Europe is the main producer of these fruits with almost half of the world 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.

It is true that the United States has a larger production than Spain, but it is a matter of size. The countries with the most production and in order are Italy, France, the United States, Spain, Turkey, China, Argentina, Iran, Germany and Chile. The latter has been standing 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, in Spain they are especially popular 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 consumed fresh, raw and in season. It must be washed very well before consuming 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 very popular in many regions. The must is obtained from unfermented grape juice. It has many benefits thanks to the contribution of vitamins and mineral salts.

Grape wine

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 the fruit juice.

Is it bad 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, that is, with the skin and the seeds, has nutritional benefits for our health.

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The part that protects the fruit provides us with antioxidants and fiber and the seeds contain vitamin 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 entire planet . Also, one of the oldest. Two thirds are used to make wine and one third are used for direct eating.

Wine grapes

These types of grapes are normally 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 of 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.

Table grapes

We will focus in this article on table grapes, which are the ones that are eaten directly. To benefit from all its properties, we recommend that it be eaten with the skin and also with the seeds.

As we will see, many antioxidant properties are concentrated on the outside in addition to providing us with natural fiber, among other benefits.

Varieties of table grapes

Table grapes can be grouped into the following varieties. They have different appearance, aroma, texture and properties, but they are all delicious.

White

White grapes, as their name suggests, are the lighter ones like the following:

1. Moscatel

Voluminous clusters of golden color. Its flavor is very sweet 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.

2. Italy

Similar in color, they are somewhat less sweet than the Muscat variety, but larger. 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 color.

4. Aledo

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

Pink grapes, as their name suggests, are those with a pink hue like the following:

1. Flame seedless

We find the first that do not have seeds inside. Its flavor is sweet and the outer part is reddish in color.

2. Red globe

The beans are round and larger than average. The color is pink, but its intensity can vary. It has a less sweet taste and crisp pulp. It is used in many recipes.

3. Cardinal

Less sweet in flavor than the white ones, it has a very striking reddish exterior that can appear purple.

Black

Black grapes, as their name suggests, are the darkest in color 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 color 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.

Raisins

They are obtained after the loss of a large part of the water of the fruit through drying in the sun. It is ideal that they are rich in sugars, with little acidity and that they do not have seeds inside.

They have nutritional characteristics different from fresh fruit. They are richer in potassium, fiber 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 .

Grapes properties

We find a fruit very rich in water, approximately 80%. In addition, they are rich in easily assimilated carbohydrates, approximately 17%. Carbohydrates such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, dextrose, and levulose.

It provides us with natural fiber that is mostly found in your skin. This fiber provides us with different benefits to our body.

Likewise, it provides us with different vitamins and minerals. It contains type C and although to a lesser extent than citrus fruits such as orange . The type C of this fruit is assimilated very well thanks to the presence of flavonoid substances.

It also provides us with beta-carotene, which is the precursor of vitamin A, an excellent antioxidant and essential nutrient for eye health.

In addition, vitamins of group B especially is rich in vitamins 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 it is a berry that is 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 us with approximately 3 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.

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Average nutritional value per 100 grams of fresh grape

Energy67 cal
Total fat0 g
Carbohydrates15,9 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Fiber0,9 g
Sodium1 mg
Water84,29 mg
Protein0,6 g
Vitamin A67 IU
C vitamin6,5 mg
Vitamin B-21,50 mg
Vitamin B-92 mg
Football37 mg
Potassium203 mg
Match24 mg
Sodium1 mg
Manganese1,97 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

By combining carbohydrates with B vitamins, it is an ideal food to improve mood and recover from fatigue. Therefore, it is a natural toner in cases of fatigue, anemia, physical stress or mental exhaustion.

2. Mild natural laxative

Grapes is 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 important. Antioxidants are natural substances that can prevent or delay some types of damage to cells. [1]

Also, these natural substances are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables.

We can number vitamin C, beta-carotene, quercithin, 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 the antioxidant in this food can be found in the seeds and in the skin.

– El resveratrol

It is a powerful antioxidant found in the skin of black grapes. Its function is to protect the fruit against fungal infections by acting as a natural antibiotic for the vine.

Resveratrol is considered an element increasingly used in the development of anti aging treatments. In addition, several studies have been carried out where resveratrol is identified as a protector against heart disease, contributes to lowering blood glucose and protects against some degenerative diseases. [2]

– 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 in reducing the possibility of the formation of cataracts , glaucoma and other related eye diseases. [3]

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. [4]

5. Strengthens our natural defenses

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, both grapes and red wine provide us with protective nutrients against various batteries and virus infections. [5]

6. Ideal for weight loss diets

It is a fruit that gives us very few calories. In addition, it is rich in fiber and water, which makes this food a perfect ally for our weight loss diet.

7. Natural depurative

Thanks to their composition of water and fiber, we can consider them as an excellent natural cleanser, just like the tamarind fruit .

8. Helps prevent cardiovascular diseases

It helps us in our cardiovascular system thanks to the presence of resveratrol and flavonoids. In addition, it provides us with potassium, which is related to good blood pressure levels. [6]

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 favorable to control and reduce high cholesterol levels. [7]

Also, nutrients such as resveratrol are beneficial for both helping to lower cholesterol and for heart disease.

10. May lower glucose levels

Grapes have a glycemic index (GI) of 45 which is relatively low. [8] The glycemic index is a measure of 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.

Conclusions

In conclusion, we find this fruit that, in a moderate proportion, helps us maintain a healthy weight. Also, grapes are very important for the amount of beneficial nutrients for our body.

All types of fruits are ideal to include in a healthy and varied diet. Similarly, by including grapes in our diet, we add a delicious food that is also very beneficial for our health.

Ellie Lauderdale

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.

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