Grapes (Vitis vinifera L.), one of the first domesticated perennials, originated in the Near East 5000–8000 years ago and remain an economically and culturally important crop.

By Khansa, Masood Ahmad, Athar Mahmood

Grape growing (also called viticulture) is as old as civilization, according to the University of Missouri. Archaeologists have evidence of grape growing as far back as 6500 B.C. in what are now Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Grapes and wine were important in dining and social rituals in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Several species of grapes are native to the Americas, most notably the Concord grape.

            Grapes come in different colors and forms. There are red, green, and purple grapes, seedless grapes, grape jelly, grape jam and grape juice, raisins, currents, and sultanas, not to mention wine. Up to 8,000 years ago, people first cultivated grape vines in what is now the Middle East. Today, 72 million tons of grapes are grown each year worldwide, mostly to produce wine. Every year, 7.2 trillion gallons of wine are produced. Grapes are also a popular finger food. The nutrients in grapes offer a number of possible health benefits. They have been associated with prevention of cancerheart diseasehigh blood pressure, and constipation

 Nutritional Values

  • Potassium in Grapes: 100 grams of grapes have 196 milligram potassium, which accounts to 4 percent of recommended daily value intake. 
  • Vitamin C in Grapes: 100 grams of grapes have 3.6 mg of vitamin C, which is essential for strengthening immunity and promoting skin health. 
  • Phosphorous in grapes: 100 grams of grapes have 20 mg of Phosphorous, which accounts to 3 percent of recommended daily value intake. Phosphorous works with vitamin D to support bone strength


Health Beneficial Properties

  1. Boosts Immunity:

A study published in journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, revealed that resveratrol in red grapes could work with vitamin D to raise the activity of a gene called human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP gene, which is involved in immune function. 

  1. Antioxidant Fix:

Grapes are profuse with a range of antioxidants, from carotenoids to polyphenols. These antioxidants help in preventing certain kinds of cancers and also help in maintaining heart health and youthful skin. Among polyphenols, resveratrol is known for its miraculous properties such as inhibiting the formation of free radicals. The antioxidant content is the highest in the seeds and the skin. So, don’t toss them away. 

  1. Regulates Blood Pressure:

Grapes are loaded with potassium, which helps lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of salt. A low sodium diet is beneficial for people struggling with problem of high blood pressure. 

  1. Good for The Eyes:

Grapes result in lower levels of inflammatory proteins and higher amounts of protective proteins in the retinas (it is the part of the eye that contains the cells that respond to light, known as photoreceptors). According to the book ‘Healing Foods’ by DK publishing, black grapes contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids, known to help in maintaining good eyesight. 

  1. Maintain Water Balance of the Body:

Due to its high potassium content and low quantum of sodium grapes help maintain the electrolyte balance of the body and flush out excess water and toxins.

  1. Anti-Cancer Properties:

According to book ‘Healing Foods’, grapes may have strong anticancer properties too. The book notes, “The high levels of flavonoids, anthocyanin’s, stilbenes, and many other antioxidants, especially in dark-skinned grapes, have been found to reduce risk of cancers of the breast and prostate caused by free radical damage. Grape antioxidant dietary fiber also helps lower the risk of colon cancer.

  1. Heart Health:

Resveratrol present in grapes are known to have heart protective properties. The abundant antioxidants present in grapes help prevent atherosclerosis or hardening of arteries. Polyphenols can help promote a healthy heart by increasing HDL (good cholesterol) levels and decreasing inflammation levels in the body. The potassium present in grapes help stabilize the blood pressure levels, thus enabling smooth inflow of blood through the heart and preventing risk of stroke. It’s anti- inflammatory properties bring relief to the arteries and promotes heart health.

  1. Relief from Pain and Inflammation:

According to a study done by Texas Woman’s University revealed that daily intake of grapes can help get relief from knee pain, especially the ones triggered due to symptomatic osteoarthritis, owing to their high level of antioxidants. According to the book Healing Foods, the leaves of grape plant is rich in polyphenols, beta carotene and vitamin K, and happens to be a traditional remedy. 

Authors : Khansa, Masood Ahmad, Athar Mahmood Univeristy of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan