PHOTOGRAPHER: JEN CAUSEY, FOOD STYLIST: RUTH BLACKBURN
In the era of continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and social media speculation on blood sugar spikes, grapes have recently come under scrutiny. Some claim that those with prediabetes, or diabetes, or those aiming for weight loss should limit or avoid grapes. However, dietitians assert that grapes can indeed be part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Elizabeth Shaw, a registered dietitian nutritionist, emphasizes that grapes are rich in essential carbs, hydration, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and polyphenols. A 1-cup serving of grapes provides 104 calories, 27 grams of carbohydrates, 1 ½ grams of dietary fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
The health benefits of grapes include increased antioxidant intake, potential improvement in brain and heart health, and the supply of essential vitamins and minerals. Grapes, particularly those with a darker hue, contain antioxidants that combat free radicals, protecting against inflammation, diabetes, certain cancers, and heart disease.
Research suggests a link between grape intake and a lower risk of heart disease and hypertension. Additionally, a small study indicates potential improvements in brain function, including attention and memory performance, among individuals consuming grapes regularly.
Grapes also contribute to vitamin K, crucial for blood flow and bone health, and contain potassium, supporting heart health and muscle function. Melatonin in grape skins may aid in promoting better sleep.
For most individuals, there is no need to avoid grapes, and a daily serving can be part of a diverse and healthy diet. Tips for enjoying grapes include incorporating them into salads, freezing them for a refreshing snack, blending them into smoothies, or using them in various recipes.
Addressing common questions, a serving of grapes is approximately 22 grapes or 1 cup, contributing to daily fruit servings. Grapes contain natural sugars, and if concerned about blood sugar levels, pairing them with fat or protein sources can help. Grapes, with their high water content and moderate calorie count, can be part of a well-balanced diet for weight loss.
In conclusion, grapes, often misunderstood for being too sweet, are a nutrient-dense fruit with various health benefits. Including grapes in your diet can support overall health, providing a quick, easy, and affordable way to boost energy.”