Despite their diminutive size, black grapes are a surprisingly potent source of nutrition. Containing polyphenols, antioxidants and flavonoids, the humble grape may help prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes.
At first glance, it might seem that the natural sugars in fruits such as grapes might cause a spike in blood sugar levels, especially for those with diabetes.
However, studies indicate that eating black grapes may actually help to manage the condition. Not only are they delicious and cooling, but also offer a range of health benefits.
Fruit contains a type of sugar called fructose, which is different from the other kinds of sugar found in things like chocolates, white sugar, and baked goods. Since the body absorbs fructose slowly, there is no significant spike in blood glucose levels when eating fruits.
Diabetes – An Overview
When you have diabetes, your body either does not produce enough insulin(Type-1) or cannot effectively use the insulin it produces (Type-2). As a result, it leads to more sugar absorption in your bloodstream, increasing blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause serious health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and eye problems.
Managing diabetes involves making healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating healthy, exercising regularly, and monitoring blood sugar levels. Eating a nutritious diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins is essential, as is engaging in regular physical activity. If you have diabetes and wish to include grapes in your diet, you can speak to a registered dietitian at HealthifyMe for individualised advice.
Grapes and Diabetes – The Effect
For those with diabetes, eating fruit, such as green and purple grapes, is recommended. Despite the negligible risk of elevating blood sugar levels, the body needs carbohydrates to generate energy which grapes provide.
Furthermore, grapes are rich in beneficial micronutrients, like vitamins, minerals, and various phytochemicals that can help prevent diseases. Thus, they make a great source of both micro and macro nutrients for people with diabetes.
Grapes have a relatively low glycemic index, ranging from 43 to 53. Eating grapes, whether whole fruit, smoothie, or extract, can help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels. It is due to the multitude of phytonutrients grapes contain. Furthermore, grapes improve insulin sensitivity and help manage insulin levels. All grapes, including black, green, red, and blue-purple, benefit those with diabetes.
Fibre and Antioxidants Improve Insulin Resistance
Regular consumption of black grapes, especially for those with type-2 diabetes, can be beneficial as it can decrease insulin levels, fasting blood sugar, and Ha1C (the three-month average of one’s blood sugar).
Even though grapes contain natural sugars, which could affect blood sugar levels, they also have fibre that can help slow sugar absorption into the bloodstream. Furthermore, grapes contain antioxidants and other compounds that can contribute to better blood sugar control.
Despite having a lot of natural sugars, black grapes are low in calories since they are 82% water. The body can fill up and hydrate with all that water. So while grapes are tasty, they are also low in calories and fat.
It Helps Reduce Sweet Cravings
If you have a sweet tooth, grapes can be a great way to satisfy it. Rather than eating sugary treats like gummies, lollipops, suckers and other fast acting sugar products, eating grapes can be a healthier option.
The HealthifyMe Note
The effects of black grapes on people with diabetes cannot be made certain. However, when consumed in moderation, grapes (espercially black grapes) can be part of a healthy diet for those with diabetes. Though they contain natural sugars, one should continuously monitor portion sizes. In addition, check blood sugar levels when adding grapes to one’s diet.
Health Benefits of Grapes for Diabetes
Rich in Antioxidants
Black grapes are a powerhouse due to their anti-inflammatory and free-radical-fighting properties.
In addition, every part of the grape, from the skin to the seed, is packed with phytonutrients like polyphenols, phenolic acids, stilbenes, and flavonoids.
These antioxidants can lower cancer risk, including skin and breast cancer, and protect the brain, heart, and liver from dangerous chemicals.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Consuming black grapes and their derivatives can help protect your heart from cardiovascular disease and heart attacks. Black grapes contain compounds like resveratrol and quercetin that decrease the risk of atherosclerosis.
It also provides a defence against harm caused by high LDL cholesterol levels. In addition, the potassium and heart-healthy fibre found in black grapes help regulate blood pressure.
Studies recommend following a high-potassium, low-sodium diet to reduce problems from high blood pressure. Foods high in potassium can also prevent stroke, muscle loss, and a decline in bone mineral density.
Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Research has demonstrated that black grapes can effectively treat and manage various health issues. It is due to their high concentrations of antioxidants, carotenoids, polyphenols, and resveratrol.
The consumption of resveratrol is beneficial in reducing the head and neck issues caused by the consumption of alcohol. It also blocks the formation of free radicals, which can increase cancer risk.
Additionally, the consumption of black grape seeds and peels is beneficial because they are a great source of antioxidants and contain essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, and D.
Promotes Heart Health
The consumption of black grapes, which contain antioxidants such as anthocyanins and resveratrol, benefits your health.
Anthocyanins can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, thus shielding you from atherosclerosis and plaque accumulation in your arteries. It can lead to lower blood pressure, improved blood flow, and lower LDL and total cholesterol levels.
Studies suggest that anthocyanins can improve the performance of your blood vessels and reduce inflammation, potentially lowering your risk of atherosclerosis and stroke.
Research suggests that antioxidants in black grapes, such as anthocyanins, can effectively prevent skin cancer and treat minor skin problems like acne.
Besides the common issues of sunburn, oedema, hyperpigmentation, and skin cancer, UV radiation may also cause premature skin ageing.
It can lead to wrinkles, dryness, and the appearance of fine lines. It is because UV radiation releases free radicals and creates oxidative stress, which can damage the skin. Black grape antioxidants can protect against these harmful effects.
Ways to Consume Grapes for Diabetes
If you have diabetes and want to include grapes in your diet, there are a few ways to do so:
Eat them as a Snack
Grapes can be a healthy and convenient snack, especially when paired with protein-rich foods like nuts or cheese.
Just be sure to watch your portion sizes, as it is crucial to monitor your intake of natural sugars.
Add them to Salads
Grapes can add a burst of flavour and natural sweetness to salads.
Just be sure to include a variety of other vegetables and choose a healthy dressing to keep the overall carbohydrate content in check.
Use them in Recipes
One can use grapes in various recipes, including sauces, marinades, and baked goods.
Be mindful of the total carbohydrate content when using grapes in recipes, and adjust your portion sizes accordingly.
Managing Diabetes like a Pro
It is essential to consider the type of food one eats, the overall quality of the diet, and the amount of physical activity one engages in. People with diabetes should aim to eat a balanced diet that is full of nutrients and stay active.
For example, suppose someone with diabetes is thinking of adding grapes to their diet. In that case, it is best to seek advice from a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to get personalised dietary advice.
If you have diabetes, you can include black grapes as part of a balanced diet. Grapes contain natural sugars that can affect your blood sugar levels, but they also contain antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients that help with blood sugar regulation.
Depending on your individual needs and goals, it is vital to make informed decisions about the number of grapes to include in your diet. A nutritionist or health care provider can provide meal and snack plans tailored to your specific needs and help you maintain good blood sugar control. However, every person is different, and what works for one may not work for another.
If you need help making decisions about your diet and health, contact HealthifyMe nutritionists for professional medical advice and diet plans. HealthifyMe dieticians and nutritionists can help you achieve a healthier lifestyle.
Although no research has been conducted to evaluate the specific effects of black grapes on people with diabetes, these fruits can be part of a healthy diet for those with the condition.
As with all fruits, grapes contain natural sugars, so it is crucial for people with diabetes to be mindful of their serving sizes and to watch their blood sugar levels when adding them to their meal plan. It is best to consume grapes in moderation to ensure a balanced diet.
The Research Sources
1. Zunino S. Type 2 diabetes and glycemic response to grapes or grape products. J Nutr. 2009 Sep;139(9):1794S-800S. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.107631. Epub 2009 Jul 22. PMID: 19625702.
2. Aaron KJ, Sanders PW. Role of dietary salt and potassium intake in cardiovascular health and disease: a review of the evidence. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Sep;88(9):987-95. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.06.005. PMID: 24001491; PMCID: PMC3833247.
3. Alesci A, Nicosia N, Fumia A, Giorgianni F, Santini A, Cicero N. Resveratrol and Immune Cells: A Link to Improve Human Health. Molecules. 2022 Jan 10;27(2):424. Doi: 10.3390/molecules27020424. PMID: 35056739; PMCID: PMC8778251.
4. Speer H, D’Cunha NM, Alexopoulos NI, McKune AJ, Naumovski N. Anthocyanins and Human Health-A Focus on Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Disease. Antioxidants (Basel). 2020 Apr 28;9(5):366. doi: 10.3390/antiox9050366. PMID: 32353990; PMCID: PMC7278778.
5. Radulescu C, Buruleanu LC, Nicolescu CM, Olteanu RL, Bumbac M, Holban GC, Simal-Gandara J. Phytochemical Profiles, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Activities of Grape (Vitis vinifera L.) Seeds and Skin from Organic and Conventional Vineyards. Plants (Basel). 2020 Oct 30;9(11):1470. doi: 10.3390/plants9111470. PMID: 33143382; PMCID: PMC7694017.