Grapes have been cultivated for thousands of years by ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Egyptians and the Romans. It has been domesticated into many products including, wine, vinegar, jelly, juice and dried into raisins. Approximately 2/3 of all grape cultivation is for making wine, with the other 1/3 providing fresh grapes. Originally all grapes were red. What we now call green/white grapes is actually a genetic mutation which turns off the production of anthocyanins – the plant pigment and antioxidant that gives red/purple/black grapes their color.
Grape Nutrition Energy Values
Even though grapes come in many varieties, their energy values are fairly standard. 1 cup of grapes (151 grams) will provide you with 104 calories. Half of these calories come from the sugars fructose and glucose. Protein and fat are also present, but in very small amounts.
Vitamin Grape Nutrition
While grapes are a fair source of vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, they are also a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C intake is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer and an essential nutrient for the optimum functioning of the immune system.
Mineral Grape Nutrition
Grape is a good non-animal source of iron. Iron is found in every cell of the body and performs several essential functions. Most notably it carries the oxygen that we breathe from our lungs to all our bodies tissues, via the blood stream. Iron deficiency leads to a drop in red blood cell levels, a condition called anemia. If this condition is not addressed, anemia will eventually lead to death. Other minerals found in fair levels include, potassium, phosphorous and copper.
Phytochemical Grape Nutrition
Phytochemicals are antioxidants that are not classified as vitamins or minerals because they don’t have an essential function. However, a considerable amount of evidence has shown these phytochemicals are potent antioxidants that protect us from premature aging and disease. When it comes to phytochemical content, red grapes are vastly superior to green grapes. Grapes’ nutrition supplies us with a variety of these phytochemicals. While green grapes contain quercetin and catechins, red grapes also contain resveratrol and anthocyanins. It is both resveratrol and anthocyanins that provide the famous heart health benefits of red grapes and red wines. Research has shown that resveratrol has anti-cancer properties and can help inhibit the development of cancer. Resveratrol also protects cholesterol from oxidation, which can lead to artherosclerosis and heart disease. Futhermore, it also helps the blood from becoming sticky, which is another risk factor for heart disease. Anthocyanins have also been researched and found to have many of the health benefits of resveratrol. It is safe to say – that red grapes’ nutritional value is very high!