If you or your kids snack on grapes or raisins and sip 100 percent grape juice, your diet is likely to be healthier than most. A new analysis of the diets of more than 21,800 children and adults suggests that grape eaters have a pretty healthy all-around diet – in general they eat more vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds than those who don’t eat grapes, and they consume less added sugar, total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol. The report was based on data gathered from the 2003 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It showed that grape consumers had increased intake of vitamins A, C and B6, fiber, calcium and potassium. In other news about grapes, an animal study at the University of Michigan showed that eating grapes can reduce heart failure associated with chronic high blood pressure by increasing the activity of several genes responsible for antioxidant defense in the heart tissue.
My take? The only downside to the news that eating grapes is a marker for good nutrition is the fact that grapes perennially make the Environmental Working Group’s list of the “Dirty Dozen Plus” - a ranking of fruits and vegetables that have high pesticide loads. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat grapes – they are good for you - but it does mean that they’re one of the fresh produce items you should always buy organic.
Carla R. McGill et al “Improved Diet Quality and Increased Nutrient Intakes Associated with Grape Product Consumption by U.S. Children and Adults: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 to 2008 (pages A1–A4),” Journal of Food Science, first published online: June 21, 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.12066
E. Mitchell Seymour et al, “Diet-relevant phytochemical intake affects the cardiac AhR and nrf2 transcriptome and reduces heart failure in hypertensive rats,” Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, March 22, 2013