Grapes have been part of the human diet for centuries. They are easy to grow and ideal for winemaking. The fruit can also be dried and preserved as raisins.
Grape juice is made from the whole grape, including the skins, pulp and seeds. It contains most of the vitamins and minerals found in table grapes, as well as the health benefits of the nutrient-rich seeds.
The most common grape juice is purple and made from Concord grapes. You can also find white grape juice made from Niagara grapes. Both grapes are native to the United States.
Eating whole grapes is also a good option. Fresh fruit provides fiber and extra vitamins.
A ½ cup serving of unsweetened grape juice contains:
- Calories: 76
- Protein: 0.5g
- Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 19 grams
- Fiber: 0 g
- Sugar: 18 grams
Grape juice provides:
- Vitamin C
Grape-flavored drinks may contain more added sugar and water than juice, providing you with a lot of calories but few vitamins and minerals. Look for "100% juice" on the label to get all the health benefits of grape juice without added sugar.
Potential health benefits of grape juice
Like the fruit it is made from, grape juice is a fat-free, cholesterol-free source of vitamins and minerals. It is also a low sodium drink.
Here are some benefits of drinking grape juice:
Reduce risk of disease
Grape juice contains high levels of antioxidants, which can help protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are harmful substances, such as chemicals in contaminated or processed foods. The damage they cause to cells can lead to the development of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Antioxidants may help prevent or even reverse this damage.
Juice made from Concord or purple grapes may be better at reducing disease risk. Concord and purple grapes naturally have higher antioxidant activity than other fruit varieties.
Improve heart health
Early research suggests that red and purple grape juice may promote cardiovascular health in the same way as red wine. Similar benefits of red wine and grape juice include protecting blood vessels, reducing the risk of blood clots, and maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Lower blood pressure
The potassium in grape juice can help the body excrete excess sodium, which is beneficial for patients with high blood pressure. Potassium also lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessel walls.
Prevent urinary tract infections
You may have heard that cranberry juice can help fight bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. Early research suggests that black grape juice may have the same effect.
Potential risks of grape juice
Grape juice has many health benefits but is high in natural sugar and calories. Some people may need to be extra careful with their drinks and drink them in moderation.
high blood sugar
Grape juice contains natural sugars, rather than the artificial sweeteners or refined sugars found in soda. However, one cup of grape juice contains 36 grams of sugar and almost no fiber, so it may cause blood sugar to spike.
If you have diabetes or need to watch your blood sugar for any reason, ask your doctor if you need to avoid or reduce your usual juice intake. Whole grapes may be a better choice because they contain fiber and are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes.
Grape juice can be a healthy alternative when trying to kick a soda habit. However, it's easy to overdose on high-calorie drinks like juice, so consider portion size when pouring a glass. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting juice to half a cup per day.