Grapes are a remarkably healthy food, whether one eats green, red, or purple versions of this popular fruit. The health benefits of grapes are present in both fresh grapes and grape juice, and for those who have been using claims about the benefits of drinking wine as an excuse to up wine intake, several studies have suggested that grape juice confers the same benefits that wine does. Whether in the form of fruit or juice, grapes can be an excellent addition to the diet, although they should not be regarded as a cure-all superfood.
Many of the health benefits of grapes center around the high vitamin and mineral content of grapes. This fruit is naturally high in vitamins A, C, and B6, along with folate, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron, all of which are necessary for human health, especially in people who are active. The high vitamin and mineral content makes grapes a great supplement to a healthy diet, especially if people follow the rule of eating five servings of different colored fruits or vegetables a day, ensuring a diverse intake of vitamins and minerals.
Grapes appear to confer several specific benefits as well. One of the clearly-established health benefits of grapes is their contribution to ocular health. People who eat grapes frequently appear to be at reduced risk for macular degeneration and other eye conditions. Grapes also reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, promote lower blood pressure, and benefit heart health. Grapes and grape juice are endorsed by many organizations which advocate for cardiovascular health.
Grapes also appear to have compounds which have antimicrobial properties, potentially reducing the risk of viral and bacterial infection in frequent consumers. Compounds known as flavanoids appear to reduce the risk of cancer, while a substance called resveratrol benefits the brain and nervous system. Resveratrol may also slow the aging process, although grapes will certainly not render anyone immortal.
The health benefits of grapes are a great excuse to eat more grapes and drink more grape juice, but people should be careful about what kinds of juice they buy. The best grape juices should include no added sugars, since grapes are naturally sweet, and they should ideally be fresh, with minimal stabilizers. People who want to get the benefits of grapes by drinking wine should be aware that alcohol can have deleterious effects on the body, especially when consumed in high volume.