Red or purple grape juice has been touted as an alcohol free substitute for red wine for over a century. And recently, it has been shown in studies that grape juice has many of the benefits of red wine. It can protect against many different diseases, and may also have anti-aging effects. But, is it always a better choice than simply eating some grapes?
The Benefits of Grapes and Grape Juice
Grapes have small amounts of a wide variety of vitamins and minerals, and are a rich source of vitamin C. More importantly, the skins and seeds of grapes contain several different antioxidants. These compounds have been found to have many different health benefits. They can protect against several different types of cancer, including breast cancer, colon cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer. The antioxidants are a potent weapon against heart disease.
In one study, people consuming a glass of grape juice per day were found to be less likely to develop blood clots, and were protected from some of the damaging effects of LDL cholesterol (the "bad" type of cholesterol). Other studies have suggested that grapes can lower blood cholesterol levels. They may also lower your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease.
Other studies have shown grape juice to be effective at killing harmful, food borne bacteria in the digestive system, such as E. Coli and Salmonella, which can cause food poisoning. Unlike prescribed antibiotics, grape juice reduced the numbers of harmful bacteria without reducing the bacteria you need in your digestive system to stay healthy. Concorde grape juice has been ranked as one of the most healthy fruit juices, with the most antioxidant activity when compared to other fruits.
Grapes vs Grape Juice
As many of the health benefits of grapes are found in their skins, skinned grapes have much lower nutritional quality. While grapes with their skins will provide many of the same benefits as grape juice, grape juice is likely to contain concentrated levels of the compounds that offer benefits and to provide more of these gram for gram. It also contains slightly more iron per gram. Grape juice is made by crushing grapes with their seeds, which will provide more antioxidants. Several varieties of table grapes are seedless and so cannot provide the same benefits.
Grape juice, however, has much less vitamin C than grapes (unless vitamin C has been artificially added to it). Even in a pure, 100% juice form, it is extremely damaging to teeth, because it is acidic and has a high natural sugar count. Many grape "drinks" have a lot of added sugar, which can also encourage the growth of plaque, as well as upset blood sugar levels and add calories to the liquid. Whole grapes also provide more fiber.
Both grapes and grape juice can support your health and longevity, and you should take advantage of their qualities. But, when given the option, it is always better to opt for fresh fruit than its liquid counterpart.