Are grapes healthy for us or simply an expensive treat?

Fruit is one of the best, yet most costly pleasures when summer begins and grapes are a best-seller. We checked health benefits, which color grapes you should buy and calorie count per cluster.

 Grapes. (photo credit: BASTIEN RUHLAND/UNSPLASH)

Recently, the price of fruit along with other consumer goods has been in the news. Yet, many are still buying sweet, tempting clusters of grapes. Besides being refreshing on a scorching hot day, grapes can help us with health maintenance. So, here’s a list of this fruit’s benefits, even though currently they cost 40 shekels per kilo. Take into account that this is a shmittah year, when many Israeli farmers don’t plant or cultivate produce.

Lots of sugar-and vitamins

Grapes have a lot of sugar and are really delicious. The amount of sugar leads to a high calorie count; a small cluster has 60 calories and 15 grams of carbohydrates. These counts are for a small cluster, about 70 grams or about 12 large grapes, and many eat a lot more at once. Another disadvantage is that the shape of grapes makes them dangerous for children under age five. Make sure kids are sitting calmly when they eat them, and cut each grape into several pieces. A whole grape can easily block the windpipe.

Benefits: Grapes have vitamins including vitamins C and K, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and minerals including potassium, manganese and copper. One cup of grapes contains a quarter of the recommended amount of vitamin C per day, almost 20% the amount of vitamin K you need daily and at least 10% of copper.

Can prevent chronic diseases

Grapes contain natural compounds, some of which studies found to have properties such as resveratrol which help protect against certain types of cancer. Resveratrol is a type of powerful antioxidant that reduces inflammation and inhibits the growth and spread of cancer cells. Resveratrol, like the antioxidants called anthocyanins found in grapes, helps neutralize cell damage, and according to the American Heart Association helps improve heart function and the cardiovascular system.

Preventing rapid aging

The biggest benefit of grapes is that they have phytochemicals, herbal compounds which have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These phytochemicals are why several studies have found a link between eating grapes and better brain aging along with a reduced risk of heart disease.

 Grapes. (credit: Jose Alfonso Sierra/Unsplash) Grapes. (credit: Jose Alfonso Sierra/Unsplash)

Phytochemicals give different fruits their color, so the darker the skin, the more phytochemicals it has and the healthier it is. Therefore, red and black grapes are considered healthier than greens. It’s important to note that keeping grapes refrigerated significantly reduces their phytochemical levels, so it’s best to place them in a bowl outside the refrigerator, and eat them before they wither.

Dark grapes also contain polyphenols, antioxidants in food which protect against the damage of chronic inflammation. A 2016 study at the University of Liverpool in England found that these antioxidants help the body fight inflammation.

Researchers stated that "The results of our study show that polyphenols derived from onions, turmeric, red grapes, green tea, berries and acai may help reduce the release of pro-inflammatory mediators in people at risk of chronic inflammation.”