Perhaps Hanna-Barbera was onto something when they gave an ape a grape — a single bunch is packed with vitamins and minerals sure to sweeten any day. A type of liana plant known for its long-stemmed woody vine, the grape fruit (no, not grapefruit) is actually considered a berry. They come in various shades of red, purple, and white, bursting with benefits from heart health to skin clarity   .
Grape Expectations — Why They’re Super
Grapes are packed with hundreds of antioxidants, including vitamins C and K and beta-carotene, which help rid the body of pesky free radicals (byproducts of oxygen use) that cause cellular damage. Antioxidants act as free radical hunters to prevent and repair the damage to cells  .
What's more, grapes are a great source of phytonutrients, the most notable of which is resveratrol. Resveratrol has made big headlines in recent years for its potential cardiac benefits like lower levels of LDL cholesterol (high levels of which can lead to heart problems) and prevention of blood vessel damage. Plus, it may help inhibit cancer cell growth and possibly help treat cognitive impairment  .
Think grapes are just good eats? Wrong! This fruit's super power is not just through the belly — it's good for the skin, too! Grape seed oil contains high amounts of conjugated linoleic acid (a fatty acid and antioxidant). Slathering on some grape seed oil can help skin fight off collagen- and elastin-destroying enzymes and could also inhibit damage caused by free radicals . Isn’t the old saying, “A grape seed a day keeps the wrinkles away?” (Well, now it is.)
A Raisin to Believe — Your Action Plan
Though grapes are low on the glycemic index, meaning they don't have a quick and drastic effect on blood sugar levels, a single cup contains more than 20 grams of sugar. (More than many other types of fruit.) And while sugar from natural sources like fruit might not be as bad as added sugar to foods that don't naturally contain it, it's still smart to keep an eye on sugar intake to prevent overdoing it. With the high sugar content in mind, when selecting a bunch to munch for a small snack, it’s best to make judgment based on appearance. Choose fully ripened grapes that are plump, wrinkle-free, and are juicy on the inside but not leaking juice all over the container (which signals they've started to spoil).
When it's time to get grapey, red and purple grapes might just beat out green grapes when it comes to nutrients. The dark skin on these little globes comes from anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that may aid in improving memory and motor function  .
The sweetness of a grape is determined by its color. (Or by sneaking a delicious bite when the produce manager isn’t looking.) The deeper the color, the sweeter the grape. Green grapes should be yellowish-green in color, red varieties should be close to the color crimson, and the purples should have a deep bluish-black color. Grapes last for up to five days when given a good bath (and dry!) as soon as they arrive home. Plunk them into a sealed plastic container to keep 'em fresh before use!
Our Favorite Grape Recipes from Around the Web:
Breakfast: Perfect Summer Fruit Salad
Side dish: Carrot, Grape, and Raisin Slaw
Appetizer: Arugula Salad With Shrimp and Grapes
What’s your favorite way to work grapes into your diet? Share your thoughts in the comments below!