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The Latest News About Grapes

Grapes that are eaten as is or used in a recipe are called table grapes and as opposed to wine grapes (used in viniculture) or raisin grapes (used to make dried fruit). While table, wine, and raisin grapes come from the same family (Vitaceae) and genus (Vitis) of plant, there are about 60 different species of this plant type, and within these 60 species, there are literally thousands of grape varieties.

While we often think about the Mediterranean as the home for all grapes, this amazing food is actually native to many parts of the world, including regions in Asia, Africa, and North America. From a botanical standpoint, one of the most widely cultivated table and wine grapes is Vitis vinifera (Common Grape Vine), and several thousand varieties of this grape exist across Europe. In the United States, native species of Vitis grapes include Vitis labrusca (which includes the Concord grape) and Vitis rotundifolia (which includes the muscadine grapes).

What's New and Beneficial About Grapes

WHFoods Recommendations

In our Healthiest Way of Eating Plan, we encourage the consumption of 5-10 servings of fruits-plus-vegetables (combined) eat day. We believe that the balance between fruits and vegetables can vary from day to day, depending upon personal health factors, personal taste preferences, and optimal combining of foods in recipes as well as meals. We recognize that our recommendation calls for a more generous amount of fruits and vegetables than the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The CDC recommends between 1.5-2.5 cups of fruit and 2.5-4.0 cups of vegetables per day, as well as a target goal of at least 5 fruit-plus-vegetable servings (combined) per day. We recommend that you set your fruit goals higher than these CDC amounts. Based on the scientific research, we believe it's going to take closer to 3 fruit servings per day (consisting of one cup's worth of fruit per serving, or 3 cups total per day) to provide you with optimum health benefits.

With respect to berries (and remembering that grapes are included among the berry fruits), we recommend that you include berries at least 3-4 times per week within your fruit servings. In several of our sample meal plans, we include berries on a daily basis! It would definitely not be a mistake for you to include a serving of either grapes, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, cranberries or other berries in your daily meal plan! When you're including grapes among your daily fruit servings, you should treat one cup as the equivalent of approximately 15-20 grapes. In practice, what this means is that on any given day, if you decide that you would like to consume all 3 of your fruit servings from this delicious food, you can feel confident enjoying up to 45-60 grapes! On another day, if you are primarily in the mood for other kinds of fresh fruit, there is still plenty of room within this 3-serving range to include some fresh grapes on a salad, or enjoy a small cluster along with a snack.

Health Benefits

Grapes provide numerous health benefits including:

For more details on grapes' health benefits, see this section of our grapes write-up.

Nutritional Profile

Grapes are an outstanding source of phytonutrients, especially phenols and polyphenols. The phytonutrients in grapes can differ not only due to growing conditions but also from species to species and variety to variety. Taken as a group, grapes offer phytonutrients in 5 basic categories: flavanols and flavonols (both flavonoids); phenolic acids; stilbenes; and carotneoids. Grape flavonoids include catechins, epicatechins, procyanidins, quercetin, and petunidin. Grape phenolic acids include coumaric acid, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, and gallic acid. Stilbenes in grapes include resveratrol, piceatannol, and pterostilbene. The carotenoids beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are also provided in valuable amounts in many varieties of grape. Grapes are excellent sources of free radical-scavenging manganese and good sources of heart-healthy vitamin B6 and potassium, energy-producing thiamin (vitamin B1), and immune-supportive vitamin C.

For more on this nutrient-rich fruit, including references related to this Latest News, see our write-up on grapes.