Last weekend I was visiting my brother and sister-in-law in LA. They had just stocked up on fresh produce from the farmer’s market before I got there and had at least four different kinds of grapes on hand: tiny champagne grapes, large green grapes, medium red grapes, and small dark purple almost blue/black, jelly-like grapes. Needless to say we had a feast of viticulture-proportions!
They were all delicious, sweet, crisp, and good for you, no? Which brought us to debate which variety of grape is the healthiest for you. If you draw a parallel to wines, many studies will cite the resveratrol, other flavonoids, and antioxidants originating from the darker red grape skins as making red wine more heart-healthy for you than white wine. As I was reading about it this morning I came across this interesting article on a laboratory study conducted by Italian and US researchers (albeit from 2006). The study tested the cardiovascular protection afforded by green grape skin, green grape flesh, red grape skin, and red grape flesh individually on lab rats. After a period of time of being fed one of the grape dietary supplements or water only (a control base group) the rats were inflicted with either a reduced blood flow or inducedheart attack. Overlooking the inhumanness of this treatment for a moment, results showed that rats fed thedietary supplement that was either grape flesh based or grape skin based each suffered significantly reduced heart attack size regardless of grape color vs. the rats who were fed just water. Most interestingly, there was no observed difference between the two grape color groups of either flesh or skin based dietary supplements. This asserts that the same resveratrol, other flavonoids, and proanythocyanidins that are known to be present in red grapes’ skins are also present in the both grapes’ flesh.
Obviously, we can’t draw a conclusive answer based on just the one study. However it brings up an interesting point, that we won’t know what we don’t test for, so to just decide that red grapes are better because we tested the two grapes’ skins alone is to neglect the benefits to be gained from the flesh of the grapes’ themselves.
In the calorie department there are numerous conflicting sources, but a safe range most sources can agree on is somewhere between 60 to 110 calories for 1 cup of grapes regardless of color. Some try to say that red grapes have fewer calories, some say that red grapes have higher sugar content and are sweeter than green grapes which can often be tart. I’m not sure how a higher sugar content can lead to a lower calorie count, so I am officially leaving this question unanswered at this time. If you have an answer, please share it with us all in the comments section!
Hopefully I’ve confused enough people for one day…