As part of a healthy diet, people are generally advised to eat more fruits and vegetables. But not all fruits are created equal. One of the most popular and easy fruits to add to your diet are grapes. Grapes are relatively low in calories, have many micronutrients, and offer a small amount of fiber. Many nutritionists recommend fruits like grapes as part of a weight management program. The water and fiber content of grapes make them a filling food. Though it bears mentioning not to overeat grapes as they have a fair amount of sugar in them.
Packed with a number of nutrients and vitamins, grapes are unarguably one of the healthiest additions you can make to your diet. Grapes are also packed with antioxidants, which have some benefits for the skin, hair, and overall health. It is said that grapes were one of the earliest fruits cultivated by humanity, is as old as humanity itself. (1)
Grape fruits and the grape vines are commonly depicted in ancient art. It is very common to see them in classical paintings and literature too, not just in one culture but all over the world. Botanically known as Vitis vinifera, grapes are actually ‘berries’ that have semi-solid, translucent flesh inside them. Grapes have several varieties – black grapes, green grapes, and red grapes. In this article, we’ll investigate the use of grapes for weight loss. Can they help you lose weight or not? Are they actually harmful? And what other benefits they might provide.
Different Types of Grapes and Their Nutritional Value
Grapes come in colors. In terms of the nutritive profile, all of them rank very high across all health charts and are more or less the same except for a few differences. Interestingly, all of them are known to be equally good for weight loss. We looked into three common and readily available grape variants. Red Grapes, Green Grapes, and Black Grapes. Now some people may not be able to tell the difference or even say that there is no difference at all. But because we are looking into how we can have grapes in our diet and help us with weight loss, we’ll be briefly looking into all three and find out which is best to get for our healthy purposes.
Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols. These are thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. (2) One of these is resveratrol. It is a phytoalexin that acts against pathogens, including bacteria and fungi. As a natural food ingredient, numerous studies have demonstrated that resveratrol possesses a very high antioxidant potential. Resveratrol also exhibits antitumor activity and is considered a potential candidate for the prevention and treatment of several types of cancer. (3) Resveratrol is found in the skins of red grapes. Resveratrol is also present in red wine. The health benefits of red wine are quite thoroughly studied but it is important to keep in mind that Moderation is key. (4) Too much of a good thing can still lead to an imbalance in your health and can cause health problems. For the human body, too much of a good thing can have harmful effects.
They are also high in antioxidants, such as lutein and zeaxanthin. The skins of red grapes contain phytochemical resveratrol, which appears to protect against several chronic diseases and conditions.
The green grape is a fruit that grows in bunches. They are one of the most common and readily available fruits. It is easy to eat grapes because not only is it sweet and pleasant to eat but because you can eat it without making much of a mess, unlike apples or oranges or other fruits that may require peeling, it is much more convenient because you can just wash it and pop one in your mouth. Green grapes are more than just a convenient snack. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals that help keep your body strong. Green grapes are a convenient snack, easy to pack into a lunch box or carry with you in the car. Beyond their portability, green grapes offer many health benefits.
Black grapes are small, sweet fruits — famous for the intense blueish-purple color that makes them look almost black. These variants of grapes are less common. Their unique color comes from their high concentration of anthocyanins, an antioxidant responsible for the color of other black, purple, and blue fruits and veggies. Anthocyanins also give color to foods like blackberries, blueberries, eggplant, and purple cauliflower (5). Multiple varieties are available, including seeded and seedless types, most of which are primarily used to make red wine. However, black grapes can also make a nutritious snack or dessert just like any grape would.
Grapes and Weight Loss
Grapes, like other fruits, are a moderate source of calories, so they can fit into a weight-loss diet. If you’re following a very calorie-restricted 1,200-calorie diet, 100 grams of black grapes are only 65 calories. It is a great sweet and energizing snack that has a number of other benefits outside of its low-calorie count.
If you are trying to eat healthier foods, remember that each grape you eat is a piece of candy that you didn’t. Thinking this way really helps motivate those who struggle with overeating or make less healthy food choices or tend to indulge themselves by way of sweets.
Aside from their caloric benefits, they are also very easy to incorporate into any diet. You can eat them whole and the skin of grapes actually contains valuable nutrients as well as fiber to help satiate your hunger. Its natural content of resveratrol might help you burn off excess pounds, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2014. (9) This particular study looked at the effects of a resveratrol supplement on muscle metabolism and found that resveratrol boosted energy expenditure in muscle tissue. The subjects burned more calories throughout the day because their muscles were using more energy.
Resveratrol is best known as a beneficial compound in red wine, but it’s found in red and purple grapes too. Another study, published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry (10) in 2015, found that resveratrol might help insulin resistance, a precursor to diabetes. That might be important for weight loss since insulin is tasked with controlling your blood sugar levels. When your body can’t respond to insulin properly, you’re more likely to experience blood sugar spikes and crashes that leave you hungry.
Grapes offer essential nutrients that, while not directly associated with losing weight, can keep you healthy as you lose weight. You’ll get a generous amount of vitamin K or Potassium (11), which helps with healthy cell growth, bone health and blood clotting function.
Grapes also offer a modest amount of dietary fiber, a nutrient linked to weight loss.
Grapes last much longer in the fridge, so refrigerating them is much better than storing them on the counter in a fruit bowl. The warmer the storage temperature, the faster they lose quality.
Grapes will keep for a day or two at room temperature, so you can keep them on the kitchen counter or dinner table. Just be mindful that leaving them out there greatly reduces their shelf life.
Some people actually freeze grapes and take a piece every now and then, the same way you might do with a piece of candy or any sugary sweets. This way of incorporating it into your diet really helps a lot with weight loss which we will talk about later.
Keep grapes fresh by storing them in the crisper drawer in the fridge, and keep them in their packaging. Most grape packaging has holes, if not, make sure they are not kept in air-tight containers as this accelerates spoilage. By following these few simple rules, you can keep them plump and juicy for a week. Though with how easy it is to snack on grapes, we doubt that they would last that long before you consume them.
Grapes contain a chemical compound called resveratrol. Studies have shown that resveratrol can help your body metabolize fatty acids, increase your energy level, and improve your overall metabolism, all of which can help with weight loss. (12)
Grapes also contain lots of flavonoids, a strong type of antioxidant that some studies show can help you maintain a healthy weight. And are also great for fighting viruses. The glycosides of some of the flavonoids increased the solubility of some flavonoids, and therefore showed increased antiviral activity as compared to the non-glycoside form of that flavonoid. These phytochemicals are active against different disease-causing viruses and inhibited the viruses by targeting the viral infections at multiple stages. Some of the flavonoids showed more potent antiviral activity than the market available drugs used to treat viral infections. (13)
A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research revealed that resveratrol in red grapes could work with vitamin D to raise the activity of a gene called human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP gene, which is involved in immune function. Resveratrol has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, glucose and lipid regulatory, neuroprotective, and cardiovascular protective effects, therefore, can protect against diverse chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), cancer, and liver diseases, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease. (14) The antioxidant content is the highest in the seeds and the skin. So, don’t toss them away
Most of the calories come from carbohydrates, therefore to reduce their fattening effect, they should be eaten alongside fat or protein to slow sugar absorption.
1. Grapes are great for regulating blood pressure.
Grapes are loaded with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. Grapes are also rich in flavonoids, and a body of work suggests that the consumption of grapes and grape-containing products might lower blood pressure. In hypertensive animals, oral administration of red wine or grape extracts lowers blood pressure. (15) Mechanistic studies showed that grape flavonoids have favorable effects on endothelial function and inflammation that might reduce arterial stiffness and lower blood pressure. (16)
2. Grapes promote good eyesight.
Eating Grapes regularly result in lower levels of inflammatory proteins and higher amounts of protective proteins in the retinas. Black grapes contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids, known to help in maintaining good eyesight (17)
3. Grapes are good for maintaining water balance in your diet.
Due to their high potassium content (18), and the low amount of sodium grapes help maintain the electrolyte balance of the body and flush out excess water and toxins. (19) If the concentration of water is the same inside and out the cells, they remain in their normal state. If the water concentration is too high outside, water enters the cell by osmosis and they may burst. Regulating water balance is fundamental to survival. (20)
4. Grapes can help prevent cancer.
The high levels of flavonoids, anthocyanins, stilbenes, and many other antioxidants, especially in dark-skinned grapes, have been found to reduce the risk of cancers of the breast and prostate caused by free radical damage. Grape antioxidant dietary fiber also helps lower the risk of colon cancer.”
5. Grapes are good for the heart.
Resveratrol present in grapes is known to have heart-protective properties. The abundant antioxidants present in grapes help prevent atherosclerosis or the hardening of arteries. Polyphenols can help promote a healthy heart by increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels and decreasing inflammation levels in the body. The potassium present in grapes helps stabilize the blood pressure levels, thus enabling a smooth inflow of blood through the heart and preventing the risk of stroke. Its anti-inflammatory properties bring relief to the arteries and promote heart health study done by Texas Woman’s University revealed that daily intake of grapes can help get relief from knee pain, especially the ones triggered due to symptomatic osteoarthritis, owing to their high level of antioxidants. (21)
Serving Tips for Grapes
Grapes are a great substitute for sweets. It is a quick, easy and healthy way to satisfy sweet cravings as long as you do not overconsume it. Remember to take everything in moderation.
They can be eaten as a snack on their own, as a grape juice, or blended into smoothies both for their sweet taste and healthy nutrient profile.
Substitution is a great way to lose weight. You don’t only look at the caloric content but take into consideration what you would have eaten if you didn’t substitute foods. Substituting a cup of frozen grapes, blended into sorbet, for a cup of orange sherbet saves you 110 calories which is a lot especially if you are trying to run a caloric deficit.
Use it as a natural sweetener. Add it to your overnight oats, shakes, and muesli. Add a handful of concord grapes to your fruit smoothies. Another benefit of using grapes as a sweetener instead of sugar is that you avoid a sugar crash from doing so.
Eating grapes on their own as a snack or together with other ingredients as a shake or drink is a great way to incorporate them into your diet. We’ve seen how many health benefits eating grapes leads to.
It has various properties that make it a preferred snack for people seeking a healthy lifestyle. It is flavorful, refreshing, and tasty without being too sweet and it is so easy to find in grocery stores, supermarkets, local grocers or even some convenience stores as a pre-portioned snack.
Will eating grapes alone help you control weight gain? Following the calories in versus calories out rule, any caloric deficit will lead to weight loss over a period of time. But it is important to remember not to overeat them, stick to your caloric deficit, engage in a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise so that you can reap the weight loss benefits of having this sweet, healthy superfood.