Grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the United States, ranking sixth behind bananas, apples, watermelons, oranges and cantaloupe. Regardless of whether or not you choose red or white (also known as green) grapes, there is good evidence that grapes are good for you. Just one cup of grapes which, depending on the size of the grapes, equates to about eighteen grapes or 100g, will give you one of the five servings of fruit and vegetables that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you eat daily. Like most fruits, grapes are a rich source of vitamins and minerals that can contribute to a balanced, healthy diet.

In particular, a single serving of grapes offers you 176 milligrams of potassium and 13 milligrams of calcium. Potassium and calcium are both important in transmitting nerve impulses and are therefore necessary to maintain efficient nervous system function. A serving of grapes will also provide you with 9 milligrams of phosphorus, which is an integral part of nucleic acids – the building blocks of genetic material. Magnesium is also present in grapes, with a cup of grapes containing 4.6mg. This mineral is important for muscle contractions. There are trace amounts of iron and selenium in a serve of grapes – approximately 0.4 milligrams and 0.3 milligrams, respectively. Small amounts of zinc, manganese and copper can also be found in grapes.

You may have been advised to avoid fruits if you are on a diet, as they contain a lot of carbohydrates. This isn’t strictly true. A serving of grapes will set you and your diet back by about 69 calories – compare this to an equivalent weight of apple, which contains approximately 58 calories. Each 100g serving of grapes has 15.48 grams of sugar and a total of 18.1 grams of carbohydrate. Grapes are not particularly fatty – there’s 0.054 grams of saturated fat, 0.007 grams of mono-unsaturated fatty acids and 0.048 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids. The great news for those watching their cholesterol intake is that grapes are totally free of cholesterol. Grapes also offer approximately a gram of protein and 1.6 grams of dietary fiber, which is important for maintaining good digestive health.

One of the greatest advantages of fruits and vegetables is the high quantity of vitamins and minerals they contain. Grapes offer 10.8 milligrams of vitamin C and 92 international units of vitamin A. There’s about 0.19 milligrams of vitamin E in a regular serving of grapes, and 14.6 micrograms of vitamin K, which is essential for normative blood clotting. Grapes contain a good concentration of B vitamins; there’s 0.086 mg of vitamin B6, 0.07 milligrams of riboflavin (B2), 0.188 milligrams of niacin (B3) and 0.05 milligrams of pantothenic acid (B5). These B vitamins are critical to maintaining optimum cellular function, particularly in the metabolism of energy. You can obtain 3.6 micrograms of folate by eating a serve of grapes – this is important if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

Grapes are also rich in antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavones, geraniol, linalol, nerol and tannins. It is these antioxidants that scientists believe are responsible for protecting the body against many forms of cancer. Red grapes, in particular, contain a compound called resveratol, which has been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol and protect the heart. Fresh grape skin contains between 50 to 100 micrograms of resveratol per gram, depending on the variety of grape.

Both red and white wine contains resveratol, with red wine having a higher concentration because both the skins and grape flesh is fermented to produce the wine. Resveratol, obtained from the grapes used to make wine, is thought to be responsible for the keeping the incidence of heart disease in France low, despite the relatively high concentrations of animal fats found in the typical French diet. The antioxidant helps to lower the levels of cholesterol circulating in the body and hence reduces cholesterol deposition in the arteries. There is good evidence that regular consumption of red wine – approximately three or four glasses interspersed over a one-week period can have positive cardiac benefits.

Grapes can be dried to produce raisins, sultanas or currants. The dried versions of grapes also confer nutritional benefits. In particular, raisins have been shown to contain high quantities of boron, which is a mineral that has an important role in maintaining good bone health. Raisins also promote healthy gums and teeth, and can help to prevent against macular degeneration.

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There are many reasons to enjoy grapes as a healthy and nutritious snack!

Have a healthy grape day my friend!

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