If you’re a regular eater of grapes, then the chances are that your overall diet is healthy and balanced, scientists have found. These small fruits seem to be a good indicator of healthy eating, with fans of grapes seemingly more likely to eat sufficient amounts of other foods that are good for health, as well as being less likely to tuck into unhealthy foods. So, based on your intake of grapes, how healthy IS your diet?!
Grapes Pack a Healthy Punch
Grapes have long been known to be good for people’s health – a single cup provides more than a quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamins C and K, is packed full of antioxidants, yet only includes about 100 calories. The berries are thought to help fight heart disease, cancer, nerve disease, viral infections and even Alzheimer’s disease. And now it seems they provide a good indication of the health credentials of a person’s overall diet.
Researchers obtained data on more than 21,800 people’s diets from the 2003-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Results showed that people who regularly ate grapes and non-alcoholic grape products – such as raisins and 100% grape juice – typically had healthier dietary patterns and better nutrient intakes than those who did not. Grape consumers tended to have higher intakes of fruit as a whole, as well as vitamins A, B6 and C, dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Grapes Linked To Healthier Eating In General
As well as being a good source of several nutrients, it seems that grape eating may be associated with improved diets in general. Grape consumers typically ate more vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds than non-consumers. And they tended to eat fewer added sugars and less total fat, saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. As lead author Dr Carla McGill observed: “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.”
Jean-Mari Peltier, executive director of the National Grape and Wine Initiative, commented: “It reinforces the association between grapes and a healthier diet, which is good news for consumers. Grapes, raisins and 100% grape juice are all foods that people enjoy eating, and this information adds another dimension to the grape and health story.”
For more information on the study, take a look at the research in the Journal of Food Science.
How Are Grapes Good For You?
Here are just a handful of reasons why grapes are good for you:
- Resveratrol, a polyphenol compound found mainly in grape skins, is thought to provide a number of physiological benefits, including antifungal properties, modulating lipid metabolism and inhibiting the oxidation of LDL (‘bad cholesterol’) and aggregation of platelets. It may even have benefits for Alzheimer’s disease
- Grape seeds contain a number of constituents with apparent health benefits, possibly helping to ward off cancer, heart failure and other conditions involving oxidative stress
- They’re low in fat so make the ideal snack food for those trying to lose weight
- Antioxidants in grapes provide a number of benefits, including possibly for eye and bladder health