Do you eat grapes? Green ones, red ones, seedless or seed-filled, 100% grape juice or raisins—new research shows your grape-eating could identify you as a healthier person. Published in the Journal of Food Science, the study indicates people who regularly eat fresh grapes, raisins, or 100% grape juice are healthier eaters overall.
Researchers looked at the diets of 21,800, a “nationally representative” sample of adults and children. Using data from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), they found that those people who eat grapes on a regular basis had greater nutrient intake.
Specifically, grape-eaters had higher intakes of fruit overall and more vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, calcium, fiber, magnesium, and potassium when compared with non-grape-consumers. In addition, they also ate more vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and seeds, while consuming less sugar, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
“It is interesting to note that not only did grape consumers have increased intakes of healthy foods and critical vitamins and minerals, but grape consumers also ate less of unhealthy foods, specifically solid fat and added sugars,” remarked lead researcher Carla McGill, PhD.
This study is added to the collection of research showing remarkable health benefits of grapes. One such study found that a diet rich in fresh grapes can fight blindness and age-related macular degeneration. Another linked grape seed and skin extracts to kidney disease reversal. Grapseed extract has even been shown to outperform chemotherapy in killing advances cancer cells.
Grapes are packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, powerful compounds that deliver a wealth of health benefits. Perhaps the best way to make use of these compounds is to simply eat grapes often and in their natural state (but washed, of course).
Still, if you’re looking for creative ways to add grapes to your diet, try throwing them on salads. They go great paired with apples in a chicken or faux-chicken (chickpea) salad. They can be thrown in a wrap with things like spinach, feta cheese, and sprouts, or eaten dried, as raisins, in a variety of ways.
Grapes are considered one of the “dirty dozen” fruits, meaning they are commonly inundated with pesticides during the growing process. Seek out organic whenever possible and if you can’t find organic, give them a good wash before eating.