Grapes are very, very good for us
Science is now revealing what we've perceived intuitively for centuries: Grapes are very, very good for us. Research has shown that grapes of all colors—red, green and black—are a natural source of beneficial components called polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and can influence cell communications that affect important biological processes.
GRAPE POLYPHENOLS AND HEALTH
Simply put, grape polyphenols appear to protect the health and function of our cells. That sounds pretty basic–which it is–but how these influential compounds accomplish the job is both complex and fascinating. What’s exciting for us is that research indicates that grape polyphenols contribute to a healthy heart and may also play a role in promoting healthy aging and other aspects of health. Today, research is ongoing to uncover even more links between grapes and heart, eye, brain and joint health, and much more.
LEARN MORE ABOUT GRAPES AND HEALTH
The role that food and nutrition play in promoting health continues to be an exciting area of study. Explore this section for more detailed information on the intricate and intriguing correlation between eating delicious grapes and maintaining good health.
A 3/4 cup of grapes contains just 90 calories with no fat, no cholesterol and virtually no sodium. Grapes are also a good source of vitamin K. Grapes of all colors are a natural source of antioxidants and other polyphenols.See the Nutrition Label
six reasons to Add Grapes
to Your Day
1. Grapes Deliver Antioxidants and Other Polyphenols
Grapes of all colors contain a variety of antioxidants and other polyphenols. Antioxidants neutralize harmful free radicals to help prevent the process of oxidation that damages cells. Sounds pretty technical, but in fact, neutralizing free radicals happens naturally when we eat foods like grapes that promote antioxidant activity. When free radicals are left to their own devices, a condition called “oxidative stress” occurs. Oxidative stress is now associated with numerous health conditions and chronic illnesses.
2. Love Your Heart: Eat Grapes
Human studies have shown that eating a variety of grapes may help support a healthy heart by promoting relaxation of blood vessels to help maintain healthy blood flow and function. Heart-healthy grapes may also help promote healthy aging: studies looking into the health benefits derived from eating normal portions of grapes on a regular basis are underway at some of the nation’s most prestigious research institutions.
3. “Grape” News for High Blood Pressure
In a recent series of studies1 2 3, animals were fed a salty diet and their blood pressures rose as a result. When grapes were added to their diet blood pressure levels dropped, heart function improved and inflammation was reduced throughout their bodies. These animals also showed fewer signs of heart damage compared to those who did not receive grapes in the diet.
1. Seymour, E.M., Bennink, M.R., & Bolling, S.F. (2013). Diet-relevant phytochemical intake affects the cardiac AhR and nrf2 transcriptome and reduces heart failure in hypertensive rats. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 24, 1580-1586.
2. Seymour, E.M., Singer, A.A.M., Bennink, M.R., Parikh, R.V., Kirakosyan, A., Kaufman, P.B., & Bolling, S.F. (2008). Chronic intake of a phytochemical-enriched diet reduces cardiac fibrosis and diastolic dysfunction caused by prolonged salt-sensitive hypertension. Journal of Gerontology: Biological Sciences, Vol. 63A, No. 10, 1034-1042.
3. Seymour, E.M., Bennink, M.R., Watts, S.W., & Bolling, S.F. (2010, May). Whole grape intake impacts cardiac peroxisome proliferator- activated receptor and nuclear factor ?? activity and cytokine expression in rats with diastolic dysfunction. Hypertension, Vol. 55, No. 5, 1179 – 1185.>
4. A Boost for Colon Health
In a small human study of colon cancer patients4, those consuming a grape-enriched diet (equal to adding 2 1/2 cups of grapes per day for two weeks) were able to inhibit certain genes that promote tumor growth in the colon. This benefit was observed in the healthy tissue of the subjects’ colons, not the cancerous tissue, indicating a potential role for grapes in helping to maintain a healthy colon.
4. Nguyen, A.V., Martinez, M., Stamos, M.J., Moyer, M.P., Planutis, K., Hope, C., & Holcombe, R.F. (2009). Results of a phase I pilot clinical trial examining the effect of plant-derived resveratrol and grape powder on Wnt pathway target gene expression in colonic mucosa and colon cancer. Journal of Cancer Management and Research, 1-13.
5. All Eyes Are On Grapes
Three recent laboratory studies5 6 7 suggest that regular grape consumption may play a role in eye health by protecting the retina from deterioration. In the first study, adding grapes to the diet early in life prevented blindness in animals that were prone to developing retinal damage in old age, similar to age-related macular degeneration in humans. In the second study the grape-enriched diet offered protection in multiple ways, from countering oxidative stress to lowering levels of inflammatory proteins and increasing protective proteins in the retina. In a third laboratory study, adding grapes to the diet helped reduce damaging and undesirable blood vessel formation that can leak into the retina and lead to vision loss.
5. Yu C. C, Nandrot, D.F., Dun, Y., and Finnemann, S.C. (2012). Dietary antioxidants prevent age-related retinal pigment epithelium actin damage and blindness in mice lacking the ?v?5 integrin. Free Radical Biology & Medicine, 52(3), 660-70. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2011.11.021
6. Patel, A.K., Davis, A., Rodriguez, M.E., Agron, S., & Hackam, A.S. (2016). Protective effects of a grape-supplemented diet in a mouse model of retinal degeneration. Nutrition, 32, 384-390.
7. Kanavi, M.R., Darjatmoko, S., Wang, S., Azari, A.A., Farnoodian, M., Kenealey, J.D., Van Ginkel, P.R., …Polans, A.S. (2014). The sustained delivery of resveratrol or a defined grape powder inhibits new blood vessel formation in a mouse model of choroidal neovascularization. Molecules, 19, 17578-17603.
6. Grape Goodness and Brain Health
A pilot study of people with early memory decline showed that consuming grapes helped preserve healthy metabolic activity in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold, while those who didn’t consume grapes had significant metabolic decline in these critical regions.8 An animal study showed that a grape-enriched diet helped reduce inflammation and protect against neuronal damage caused by loss of oxygen to the brain.9 Additional animal studies found that consuming grapes prevented oxidative stress-induced anxiety-like behaviors, learning and memory impairment and associated high blood pressure.10 11
8. Lee, J.K., Torosyan, N., & Silverman, D.H. (2017). Examining the impact of grape consumption on brain metabolism and cognitive function in patients with mild decline in cognition: A double-blinded placebo controlled pilot study. Experimental Gerontology, 87 (Pt A),121-128.
9. Wang, Q., Simonyi, A., Li, W., Sisk, B.A., Miller, R.L., MacDonald, R.S., Lubbahn, D.E., Sun, G.Y., & Sun, A.Y. (2005). Dietary grape supplement ameliorates cerebral ischemia-induced neuronal death in gerbils. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, 49, 443-451.
10. Allam F., Dao, A.T., Ghugh, G., Bohat, R., Jafri, F., Patki, G., …Salim, S. (2013, June). Grape powder supplementation prevents oxidative stress-induced anxiety-like behavior, memory impairment and high blood pressure in rats. Journal of Nutrition, 143(6), 835-842, doi: 10.3945/jn.113.174649
11. Patki, G., Allam, F.H., Atrooz, F., Dao, A.T., Solanki, N., Chugh, G., … Salim, S. (2013, September). Grape powder intake prevents ovariectomy-induced anxiety-like behavior, memory impairment and high blood pressure in female Wistar rats. PLoS ONE, 8(9), e74522. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074522
ABOUT California TABLE GRAPES
Californians have been cultivating grapes for more than two centuries. Today, 99 percent of U.S. table grapes are produced in California's warm, dry climate that is ideal for grape growing. With more than 85 grape varieties grown, California grapes come in three colors—green, red and black—and are in season from May through January.