- While table, wine, and raisin grapes come from the same family (Vitaceae) and genus (Vitis) of plant, there are about 60 different species of this plant type, and within these 60 species, there are literally thousands of grape varieties.Table grape varieties are most often larger in size, have been propagated to be seedless, and have relatively thin skins. Wine grapes are usually smaller in size, contain seeds, and have relatively thick skins. All types of grapes come in a variety of colors. While green, red, and black are the most commonly consumed color varieties in the U.S., grape colors also include amber/yellow, blue black, crimson, pink, and purple.
- Grapes are an outstanding source of phytonutrients, especially phenols and polyphenols. The phytonutrients in grapes can differ not only due to growing conditions but also from species to species and variety to variety. Taken as a group, grapes offer phytonutrients in 5 basic categories: flavanols and flavonols (both flavonoids); phenolic acids; stilbenes; and carotneoids. Grape flavonoids include catechins, epicatechins, procyanidins, quercetin and petunidin. Grape phenolic acids include coumaric acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid and gallic acid. Stilbenes in grapes include resveratrol, piceatannol, and pterostilbene. The carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin are also provided in valuable amounts in many varieties of grape. Grapes are a very good source of vitamin K and copper as well as a good source of vitamin B2.
- The potential health benefits of consuming grapes are numerous, with past studies associating them with prevention of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and constipation.
- Many studies have shown that increasing consumption of plant foods like grapes decreases the risk of obesity and overall mortality.
- Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols, which may slow or prevent many types of cancer, including esophageal, lung, mouth, pharynx, endometrial, pancreatic, prostate and colon. The resveratrol found in red wine famous for heart health is a type of polyphenol found in the skins of red grapes.
- The flavonoid quercetin is a natural anti-inflammatory that appears to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and protect against the damage caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in animal studies. Quercetin may have the additional bonus of anti-cancer effects; however more studies are needed using human subjects before these results can be confirmed.The high polyphenol content in grapes may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by preventing platelet build-up and reducing blood pressure via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.The fiber and potassium in grapes also support heart health. An increase in potassium intake along with a decrease in sodium intake is the most important dietary change that a person can make to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease, according to Mark Houston, MD, MS, an associate clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt Medical School and director of the Hypertension Institute at St Thomas Hospital in Tennessee.In one study, those who consumed 4069 mg of potassium per day had a 49% lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed less potassium (about 1000 mg per day).High potassium intakes are also associated with a reduced risk of stroke, protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.
- Potassium has many benefits for the body. It may be that a low potassium intake is just as big of a risk factor in developing high blood pressure as a high sodium intake.4 Because of their high potassium content, grapes are recommended to those with high blood pressure to help negate the effects of sodium in the body.
- Eating foods that are high in water content like grapes, watermelon and cantaloupe can help to keep you hydrated and your bowel movements regular. Grapes also contain fiber, which is essential for minimizing constipation.
- Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of quercetin, consuming grapes may help to alleviate symptoms of allergies including runny nose, watery eyes and hives. There have been no human studies done to prove this theory.
We’re farmers and not doctors so none of this should be treated as medical advice for you. We’re only sharing our personal experience and testimony, which may not be relevant to your specific medical condition. Talk to your doctor about your own personal diet and care and please don’t sue us because we’re trying to help people in need and lawyers are super expensive and every dollar we spend on a lawyer can’t be spent helping others grow food. Thanks!!!