The world has known grapes (Vitis vinifera) for their medicinal value for over 6000 years. The Egyptians introduced the use of grapes and grapevines in medicine. The sap from grapevines was made into ointments to treat skin and eye conditions (1).
Grapes and their ripened fruit juices were used to control a variety of ailments, like nausea, constipation, cholera, smallpox, liver disease, and even cancer (1).
Recent epidemiological studies also reinforce the cardioprotective nature of these fruit extracts (1).
Research supports the potent antioxidant properties of grapes. Grape juice happens to be the new-age detox drink. Keep reading to discover the therapeutic benefits of grape juice.
Table Of Contents
What Are The Benefits Of Drinking Grape Juice?
Grape juice has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may control hypertension and aging. It may also help in managing and avoiding prostate complications and digestive issues. Here are its benefits in detail.
1. May Protect Heart Health
Grapes are packed with antioxidants. Phytochemicals like resveratrol and quercetin, procyanidins, tannins, and saponins are a few antioxidants known to protect your heart health. Research states that grape juice is as therapeutic as grapes (2).
Red and purple grape juices reduce the stickiness of platelets (platelet aggregation), which is a key factor in blood clotting (2).
Grape juice also increases the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). It reduces inflammation in the blood vessels and improves their ability to relax (vasodilation and relaxation) (1).
Human studies show that drinking grape juice (especially Concord grape juice) can control systolic blood pressure, especially if you have hypertension (3).
The consumption of purple grape juice stimulated the release of anti-inflammatory indicators like nitric oxide in patients with coronary artery disease. Drinking the juice for 2-4 weeks improved the blood flow through arteries and also lowered the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels (1).
2. May Slow Down Memory Loss In Older Adults
Grape juice from the Concord variety contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may influence and improve neuronal signaling. Consuming this juice may reduce the risk of dementia (4).
In a randomized trial, 12 older adults with memory decline were kept on Concord grape juice supplementation for 12 weeks. Researchers observed an improvement in their cognitive behavior, verbal learning, and spatial recalling (4).
Active polyphenols like resveratrol affect the memory centers in your brain, like the hippocampus. Rats that received resveratrol showed an apparent boost in learning, mood, and spatial memory. In contrast, their placebo-receiving counterparts had a decline in the ability to make new memories (5).
Such studies prove that resveratrol-containing grape juice can be an excellent brain tonic. With further research, it may be applied to manage Alzheimer’s disease, early dementia, and other chronic neurodegenerative disorders (5).
3. May Manage Blood Glucose And Diabetes
One of the major causes of diabetes mellitus is oxidative stress. Consuming Concord grape juice may reduce insulin resistance. It contains anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins, flavonols, phenolic acids, and resveratrol. All of these are potent antioxidants (6).
They eliminate free radicals that cause inflammation of insulin-secreting pancreatic cells. The grape polyphenols work on impaired glucose tolerance in tissues (6). This is supposed to be the initial stage of diabetes.
In a randomized, controlled study, 250 mg/of resveratrol per day was administered orally to 62 patients with type 2 diabetes. Over three months, positive changes in their fasting glucose concentration were observed. The HbA1c level (which is a blood sugar level indicator) was also within the normal range (7).
However, you need to watch out for added sugar in packed grape juices. Added sugars can drastically reduce the benefits of having the juice.
4. May Have Anticancer Properties
Consuming purple grape juice may inhibit DNA damage that may otherwise lead to cancer.
A study conducted in Korea showed the effects of regular grape intake on DNA. Healthy participants had reduced levels of oxidative DNA damage in immune system cells. Grape juice also increased the plasma antioxidant capacity in them (8).
Grape phytochemicals were found to be effective in killing colon cancer cells. How they selectively work on cancer cells is still being studied. However, there was a drop in the incidence of tumors in rats fed with grape extracts (9).
Administering flavonoid-rich grape juice can manage chemotherapy-induced nausea, vomiting, and other side effects. The results of these studies turned out to be inconclusive. But with more supporting data, drinks like grape juice can be considered a cheaper alternative to chemotherapy adjuncts (10).
5. May Help Mitigate Prostate Issues
Prostate cancer and related issues are a leading cause of low quality of life and mortality in men. Laboratory studies demonstrate the anticancer properties of grape juice and wine on prostate cancer cells (11).
Human studies have shown that dietary supplementation of grape juice (480 ml/day) can reduce DNA damage without major side effects. The juice could reduce the formation of free radicals by almost 15% in eight weeks (11).
Muscadine grape extracts have been studied extensively for their prostate-protective properties. Evidence supports the selective apoptosis (programmed cell death) of prostate cancer cells triggered by grape anthocyanins. Surprisingly, healthy cells remain unaffected (12).
6. May Promote Gut Health And Digestion
Adding grapes to your diet with high-fat foods changes your gut microbial environment drastically. Despite having limited absorption and digestion, grape polyphenols protect your gut against pathogens, oxidative stress, and inflammation (13).
The grape polyphenols in grape juice may control weight gain and glucose intolerance. These phytochemicals also lower intestinal inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory markers (TNF-α, IL-6, lipopolysaccharide, etc.) (13).
Grape polyphenols also promote gut barrier integrity. They promote the growth of helpful intestinal bacteria like Akkermansia muciniphila. This can enhance digestion and assimilation (13).
According to mice studies, grape extracts can protect you from pathogenic gut infections, metabolic disorders, and obesity (13).
7. May Inhibit Flu And Enteric Viruses
Laboratory and animal studies report the antiviral properties of grape juice.
The resveratrol in grape juice prevents the reproduction and spread of the influenza virus. It seems to block host cell functions that are vital for viral replication (14).
It interferes with the manufacture of proteins made in the viral replication process. Resveratrol treatment increased the survival of treated mice by 40%. More importantly, there have been no reports of toxicity (14).
The acidic-neutral pH of grape juice also helps prevent viral infections. Commercial grape juice was found to inactivate various enteric viruses and herpes simplex virus (HSV). Moreover, grape juice treatment showed a 1,000-fold reduction in poliovirus infectivity (15).
8. May Help You Burn Fat
Moderate doses of red grape juice or wine may help you burn fat. White grape seed flour was found to be more effective in managing obesity and metabolic diseases like fatty liver (16).
The ellagic acid in Muscadine grapes dramatically slowed down the growth of existing fat cells and the formation of new ones (adipogenesis) (17).
Overweight mice that were given small, decent-sized doses of these grape drinks showed improved liver function. Ellagic acid and other chemicals trigger the genes that control the metabolism of dietary fat and glucose. In these experiments, the blood sugar levels of mice were also under control (18).
9. May Protect And Nurture Your Skin
Red wine, grape juice, cranberries, peanuts, and their products contain resveratrol. Resveratrol acts as an antioxidant and anti-mutagen with anti-inflammatory effects.
Resveratrol inhibited tumorigenesis (formation of tumors) when administered to mouse skin cancer models (19).
Numerous mice studies demonstrate the photoprotective properties of this grape phytochemical (19).
The topical application of resveratrol may inhibit skin edema caused due to exposure to UVB rays. It causes a significant decrease in the generation of free radicals (like hydrogen peroxide) that may trigger aging and skin cancers (19).
Grape juice contains fair amounts of hydrolyzed collagen. Consuming such drinks, about 5–10 g a day, for 3-6 months, may enhance skin health (20).
10. May Detox Your Body
Grape juice can be an alcohol-free alternative to red wine. Making it a part of your diet introduces antioxidants into your body. These combat oxidative damage to your DNA and body (21).
Grape juice can prevent/delay the onset of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, stroke, neurodegenerative disorders, and cancer by scavenging free radicals (22).
All the above benefits are attributed to the nutrient profile of grape juice. Its phytochemical composition is another contributor. Resveratrol, quercetin, catechin, flavonols, anthocyanins, gallic acid, and epicatechin are the key elements. Let us take a look at how much of each is present and how they are distributed.
Grape Juice: Nutrition Details*
The values in the brackets include the daily value of the particular nutrient the serving of the ingredient meets.
Grapes contain a variety of phytochemicals, including phenolic acids, stilbenes, anthocyanins, and proanthocyanidins (23). Their composition varies significantly among subspecies and species.
The distribution of these phenolic components in grapes is as shown below:
|Seed||Gallic acid, (+)-catechin, epicatechin, dimeric procyanidin, proanthocyanidins|
|Skin||Proanthocyanidins, ellagic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempferol, trans-resveratrol|
|Leaf||Myricetin, ellagic acid, kaempferol, quercetin, gallic acid|
|Stem||Rutin, quercetin 3-O-glucuronide, trans-resveratrol, astilbin|
|Raisin||Hydroxycinnamic acid, hydroxymethylfurfural|
|Red wine||Malvidin-3-glucoside, peonidin-3-glucoside, cyanidin-3-glucoside, petunidin-3-glucoside, catechin, quercetin, resveratrol, hydroxycinnamic acid|
Grape juice is rich in nutrition. But could it be the ideal alternative to red wine?
Grape Juice Vs. Red Wine
Both grape juice and red wine are extracts of the same source. Their phytochemical makeup differs slightly. Grapes contain a wide variety of polyphenol compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, and resveratrol. These contribute to its health benefits (1).
The highest concentrations of grape polyphenols are found in its skin, stems, and seeds. Hence, the longer the contact with these components, the higher the polyphenolic content (1).
During the production of red wine, there is prolonged exposure to the skin, stem, and seeds of grapes. This increases the polyphenolic content up to 10-fold compared to white wine and grape juice (1).
That brings us to the French paradox.
The French Paradox
The WHO collected data on cardiovascular mortality from 17 Western countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom.
Interestingly, the French were found to have a lower risk despite higher consumption of saturated fats. This finding was called the “French Paradox.”
On further analysis, they concluded that increased consumption of wine in France and other Mediterranean countries could be the rescuing factor.
Initially, people thought it was the alcohol content that lowered cardiovascular disease risk. However, other studies indicated that non-alcoholic factors in wine may also play a protective role.
Only when the researchers understood the existence of polyphenols, the French paradox stood better justified.
Simply put, grape juice is the non-alcoholic (more or less) equivalent of red wine. It still does a fantastic job of healing and protecting your body.
If you wish to make grape juice at home, we can help you with the basic recipe(s). You can play around and add other flavors to it.
What You Need
- Organic grapes (Concord/Muscadine/black/red/green): 750g to 1 kg (for 3-4 servings)
- Water: as required
- Optional seasonings
- Black salt: 2-3 pinches
- Jaggery/sugar/sweetener: as required
- Lemon juice: 1 teaspoon
Let’s Make It!
Method 1: Using An Electric Blender
- Wash the grapes thoroughly under running water. Drain them.
- Add them to the blender. Blend until you get a smooth mixture.
- Using a strainer, strain the contents into a clean and dry colander/container.
- Use a spoon to press the pulp against the strainer to squeeze out the remaining juice.
- Add the lemon juice, salt, and sweetener (if the juice is not sweet enough).
- Serve it with a few ice cubes and a garnish of grapes and mint leaves.
- Drink it fresh with your breakfast to kick-start your day and detox your body!
Method 2: Without Using An Electric Blender
- Wash the grapes thoroughly under running water. Drain them.
- Transfer them to a colander and wash them in warm water. This step ensures chemicals/pesticides on the grapes’ surface are washed off. Drain them.
- Mash all the grapes using a potato masher until their juice begins to come out.
- Put the mashed grapes in a boiling pot with water.
- Cook them on medium heat for around 10 minutes.
- Keep stirring now and then.
- Mash the grapes using a spoon or a potato masher if they start clumping up. If you like the chunky texture, you may omit this step.
- Strain the juice using a sieve/strainer/cheesecloth over a container.
- Remove the sieve or cheesecloth and keep the juice in the refrigerator for it to cool.
- Pour the juice in a drinking glass or a pitcher with ice.
- Add optional seasonings like black salt, lemon juice, crushed mint leaves, honey, etc.
Sometimes, grape juice can end up tasting sour if the grapes are sour and mature. That is one reason people prefer the blender-based method.
Here are a few tips to make this juice taste better.
Tips To Make Grape Juice Taste Better
- Pick the right grapes.
- Don’t boil the grapes. Heat them to a high temperature in a boiling kettle with water.
- Cool the juice before serving. Cooling for 24 to 48 hours will give you the best results.
- You can add soda, ginger ale, lemon squash, and pineapple juice to chilled unsweetened grape juice.
- Add milk to a thick prep of grape juice. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds and freeze. Enjoy grape-flavored popsicles!
You can scale the ingredient proportions up or down depending on the serving size. But it is equally important to store the remaining juice the right way.
If you do not store it right, grape juice may start to ferment. The bacteria or fungi may produce metabolites that are unsafe for human consumption.
Read on to know how to store the juice at home.
How To Store Grape Juice The Right Way
Grape juice made from fresh grapes can be stored in a variety of ways.
You can either freeze it or bottle it for later use. This way, you do not have to run to the store to buy a preservative-choked version or concentrate. You can:
- Refrigerate the juice in jars with tight-fitting lids for 5-7 days. The juice will begin to ferment if left longer.
- Freeze it by pouring the juice into freezer-safe zipper bags and sealing. Store upright only. Double-bag the pouches, just in case a freezer burn happens.
- Label the bags with contents and the date. Freezing this way can keep the juice for almost 1 year.
- Ferment the grape juice into wine by adding sugar and yeast. Keep this mixture aside for 45 to 60 days. You need to check its pH and safety before consuming it.
With the right ingredients, recipe, and storage, you can enjoy grape juice all through the year. It is a versatile drink as you can create your own cocktails/mocktails with it.
According to research, there are no reported life-threatening side effects of grape juice. However, there is a lot of information about grapefruit interacting with drugs. Do not get confused.
Grapefruit is a citrus fruit like tangerines, while grapes belong to another family altogether.
Grape juice is a reservoir of antioxidants. The anthocyanins, stilbenes, tannins, saponins, flavonoids, and other phenolic compounds contribute to our well-being.
Grape juice may help prevent heart and brain diseases, cancer, and grave health conditions.
The scientific community has not yet established the ideal grape juice dosage. Hence, it is best to discuss with your healthcare provider about a suitable dosage for you.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Is too much grape juice bad for you?
Drinking too much grape juice could be harmful. The chemicals in grape juice, called polyphenols, may interfere with iron absorption (24). Hence, it is better to consume grape juice in moderate or recommended dosages.
Is grape juice good for your stomach?
Grape juice is good for the stomach. It contains antimicrobial properties that may help kill harmful bacteria (13).
Is grape juice bad for those with diabetes?
According to animal studies, grape juice reduced blood clotting in diabetic rats (25). Drinking grape juice could be beneficial for people with diabetes. However, grape juice is rich in sugars and may spike blood sugar levels. Consult a medical practitioner before including it in your diet (25).
Can too much grape juice cause diarrhea?
Anecdotal reports claim that excess consumption of grape juice or grapes may cause diarrhea. But there is no scientific evidence to back this claim.
Is grape juice a blood thinner?
Grape juice may reduce the risk of blood clots (25). Hence, be cautious if you are on blood thinning medications as it may excessively enhance their effects.
Is grape juice good for weight loss?
Grape juice has fat burning compounds and antioxidants that may help promote weight loss. However, there are no studies where the effects of grape juice on weight loss were observed.
Does grape juice kill stomach bugs?
Yes, grape juice has antibacterial and antiviral properties; it may help kill stomach bugs.
Is grape juice acidic?
Yes, the pH of grape juice is 3. The juice is usually acidic.
Does grape juice help with constipation?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that grape juice may help relieve constipation. However, there is a lack of evidence to support this claim.
Can we drink grape juice at night?
Yes, you can drink grape juice at night.
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