People have cultivated grapes for thousands of years, including several ancient civilizations that revered them for their use in winemaking. Grapes also make a quick and delicious snack you can enjoy at home or on the go.
You may find them in various colors, including green, red, black, yellow, and pink. They come in multiple forms, too, from raisins to jellies to juice. Seeded and seedless varieties also exist.
Grapes offer a wealth of health benefits, primarily due to their high nutrient and antioxidant contents.
Here are the top 16 health benefits of grapes.
Grapes are high in several important nutrients. Just 1 cup (151 grams) of red or green grapes provides (
- Calories: 104
- Carbs: 27 grams
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 0.2 grams
- Fiber: 1.4 grams
- Copper: 21% of the daily value (DV)
- Vitamin K: 18% of the DV
- Thiamine (vitamin B1): 9% of the DV
- Riboflavin (vitamin B2): 8% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 8% of the DV
- Potassium: 6% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 5% of the DV
- Manganese: 5% of the DV
- Vitamin E: 2% of the DV
Grapes also provide good amounts of B vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, and B6. Both thiamine and riboflavin are needed for growth and development, while B6 is mainly required for protein metabolism (
Grapes contain many important vitamins and minerals, including copper and vitamins B and K.
Grapes may boost heart health in several ways.
May help lower blood pressure
Evidence shows that potassium helps lower blood pressure primarily by helping dilate your arteries and veins. It may also help excrete sodium and prevent the narrowing of arteries and veins that would otherwise increase blood pressure (
However, a review of 32 studies determined that potassium intakes that are both too low and too high may lead to high blood pressure. Researchers advised sticking to the current daily intake recommendation of 4.7 grams (
May help reduce cholesterol
In an 8-week study in 69 people with high cholesterol, eating 3 cups (500 grams) of red grapes per day helped lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. However, white grapes didn’t have the same effect (
Compounds in grapes may protect against heart disease by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Antioxidants are compounds that help repair the damage to your cells caused by free radicals — harmful molecules that cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is associated with several chronic health conditions, including diabetes, cancer, and heart disease (
Grapes are rich in several powerful antioxidants. The highest concentration of antioxidants is found in the skin and seeds. However, multiple factors may affect their concentration, including grape variety, maturity, post-harvest storage, and environmental factors (
Some grape varieties contain a higher content of anthocyanins, a class of flavonoids that give these fruits orange, red, blue, pink, and purple colors. Human and animal studies indicate that anthocyanins may help prevent or treat brain and heart diseases (
Grapes also contain vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, and ellagic acid, which are also powerful antioxidants (
Grapes are rich in antioxidants, which are beneficial plant compounds that may protect against chronic health conditions.
Antioxidants in grapes may protect against certain types of cancer (
Resveratrol, an antioxidant in this fruit, may help by reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, and blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells in your body. In fact, it has been studied for its effects against numerous cancers (
Additionally, a 2-week study in 30 people found that those over the age of 50 who ate 0.3–1 pound (150–450 grams) of grapes per day experienced decreased markers of colon cancer risk (
Antioxidants in grapes may prevent the growth and spread of multiple types of cancer, though human research is lacking.
Grapes contain 23 grams of sugar per cup (151 grams), which may make you wonder if they’re a good choice for people with diabetes (
This means that grapes’ GI score may range from low to medium, in which case they may raise your blood sugar levels at a slow or moderate pace but won’t necessarily spike it.
However, keep in mind that eating too much of a low GI food will have the same effect on blood sugars as eating a high GI food. So, it’s best to eat grapes in moderation.
In addition, compounds found in grapes may help improve markers of insulin response.
In a review of 29 studies in 1,297 adults, grapes and grape supplements significantly decreased what’s called homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), a measure of insulin resistance (
- decreasing insulin resistance
- increasing insulin sensitivity
- protecting your pancreas’s beta cells, which produce insulin
- improving insulin production
- increasing the number of glucose receptors on cell membranes
Managing your blood sugar levels over time is important for reducing your diabetes risk and preventing diabetes-related complications.
Though grapes are high in sugar, their low to moderate GI makes them fairly safe to eat in moderation if you have diabetes. Additionally, compounds in grapes may protect against high blood sugar.
Plant compounds in grapes may protect against common eye diseases.
For instance, in a study in mice, those fed grapes showed fewer signs of damage to the retina and had better retina function than mice not given the fruit (
Additionally, in a test-tube study, resveratrol was found to protect retina cells in the human eye from ultraviolet A (UVA) light. This may lower your risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disease (
According to one review, resveratrol may also safeguard against glaucoma, cataracts, and diabetic eye disease (
Grapes contain several compounds — such as resveratrol, lutein, and zeaxanthin — that may help prevent common eye diseases.
Eating grapes may boost memory and brain health.
In a 12-week study in 111 healthy older adults, taking 250 mg of a grape supplement daily significantly improved scores on a test measuring attention, memory, and language, compared with baseline values (
Another study in healthy young adults showed that drinking 7.8 ounces (230 mL) of grape juice improved both mood and the speed of memory-related skills 20 minutes after consumption (
What’s more, in a study in rats, 4 weeks of resveratrol intake improved learning, memory, and mood. In addition, the rats’ brains showed signs of increased growth and blood flow (
Grapes contain compounds that may improve memory, attention, and mood, as well as protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
For example, in an 8-week study, rats fed freeze-dried grape powder had better bone absorption and calcium retention than rats that didn’t receive the powder (
Furthermore, a 2-year study in postmenopausal women showed that taking 75 mg of resveratrol twice daily improved bone mineral density and slowed bone loss, reducing the risk of major fractures and hip fractures (
However, human studies are currently lacking.
Grapes contain vitamins and minerals important for bone health, although more research is needed in humans.
For example, resveratrol has antimicrobial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi like Campylobacter jejuni and Candida albicans (
Other compounds in grapes with antimicrobial activity include anthocyanins, which may destroy bacterial cell walls (
Grapes contain several compounds that may have beneficial effects against harmful bacteria and fungi.
Plant compounds in grapes may affect aging and lifespan.
Research shows that resveratrol may delay signs of aging by mimicking the beneficial effects of calorie restriction, such as reducing oxidative stress, enhancing stress resistance, and improving inflammatory response (
Keep in mind that these benefits have only been seen in animal studies.
Resveratrol also activates sirtuin, a protein that regulates cellular processes like aging and cell death (
Resveratrol, which is found in grapes, has been shown to activate genes associated with slower signs of aging and longer lifespan.
While low level inflammation is a typical bodily response, chronic inflammation plays a key role in the development of long-term health conditions like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune disorders (
Yet, studies involving grapes themselves are lacking.
Grapes contain compounds with anti-inflammatory effects, which may in turn protect against chronic diseases.
Resveratrol may have numerous protective effects on your skin and hair.
In fact, this compound has gained popularity in cosmetic products because it penetrates the skin barrier and increases collagen concentration, as well as protects against UV damage from sun exposure (
For starters, resveratrol protects hair follicles from environmental damage. It also promotes the rapid increase of important follicular cells that encourage hair growth (
Nevertheless, studies on the effects of grape consumption on skin and hair are lacking.
The antioxidant resveratrol in grapes may protect your skin from damage and promote hair growth but more research is needed.
Notably, anthocyanins in grapes may have anti-obesity effects. Studies in rats fed a high fat diet show that anthocyanins may suppress body weight gain and reduce liver fat content (
Additionally, research in animals found that proanthocyanidin extract from grape seed may increase levels of the fullness hormone GLP-1, which may lower appetite and reduce food intake (
Nonetheless, human studies are lacking.
Antioxidants in grapes may combat obesity by inhibiting appetite and preventing weight gain. However, research in humans is lacking.
Fiber in whole fruits like grapes may significantly improve constipation symptoms by reducing the time it takes stool to move through your colon, as well as increasing fecal weight and daily bowel movements, compared with fruit juices (
Additionally, grapes are 81% water, so they may help you reach your hydration goals (
As a good source of water and fiber, grapes may help relieve constipation.
Evidence suggests a direct link between diet and sleep (
Interestingly enough, melatonin is found mainly in grape skin, which is why it’s also present in products like grape juice and wine (
Since melatonin works hand-in-hand with your internal clock, intake timing is an essential factor to consider. If you’re eating grapes to help you sleep, aim to consume them early in the evening.
Grapes are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that may improve your sleep quality.
Grapes are delicious, versatile, and easy to incorporate into a healthy diet. Here are a few ways to enjoy them:
- Eat grapes by themselves as a morning or afternoon snack.
- Blend with spinach, cucumber, banana, kale, and mint for a nutrient-rich smoothie.
- Serve on top of your favorite yogurt with crushed nuts and a drizzle of honey.
- Enjoy frozen grapes as a refreshing summer treat.
- Toss chopped grapes on your salad of choice.
- Pair with sliced apples, strawberries, and dark chocolate for a sweet but healthy dessert.
- Drink 100% grape juice.
- Enjoy red wine in moderation.
Grapes are easy to snack on or add to your meals. Grape juice and red wine — in moderation — may provide benefits as well.
Both grapes and grape juice share multiple health benefits, but the whole fruit is generally healthier.
In addition, fruit juices provide little to no fiber compared with whole fruits, as well as a higher sugar content.
- a slower rise in blood sugar levels, which prevents your blood sugar and insulin levels from spiking and crashing
- delayed stomach emptying, which increases feelings of fullness and reduces food intake
So, you should aim to eat fresh grapes rather than drink grape juice whenever possible.
While whole grapes and grape juice provide multiple nutrients, eating fresh fruit ensures a higher intake of fiber and antioxidants, plus a lower sugar intake.
Like whole grapes and grape juice, wine is a good source of antioxidants and offers numerous health benefits (
Current U.S. dietary guidelines recommend limiting your alcohol intake to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. For reference, every 5 ounces (150 mL) of wine equals 1 drink (
Nevertheless, while moderate wine intake may positively affect your health, like grape juice, it lacks whole grapes’ fiber content.
Like whole grapes, wine is a good source of antioxidants, and it offers multiple health benefits. However, excessive intake may lead to detrimental health effects.
Grapes offer several important nutrients and powerful plant compounds that benefit your health. Though they contain sugar, they don’t appear to negatively impact blood sugar control when eaten in moderation.
Antioxidants like resveratrol provide most of grapes’ benefits, including their anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetes, and anticancer properties.
They are also quite delicious and easy to add to your diet. For the most benefits, choose fresh grapes over grape juice or wine.