The Difference between Red, Green and White Grapes

White grapes and red grapes are universal favorites. Grapes turn up on both family and fine dining tables. Grapes are enjoyed as snacks, ingredients in appetizers, desserts or festive trimmings for cheese trays and gelatin rings. You probably identify grapes by color rather than by name, and for good reason. There are many grape varieties, each with their own names. Scientists say there are over four dozen varieties grown in California alone.

Even the colors of grapes are numerous. Grapes range from blue-black to blue to purple to red to green to very light green. For easier classification, grapes can be described simply as red and “white” or green grapes. White grapes are green grapes. Colors in the white category vary from light green to mild green. Whatever the shade, grapes are wholesome and nutritious. Still, color is not the only differentiator among the varieties. Here are some of those special characteristics.

Red Grapes

Seeded or seedless, red grapes rule over white and green grapes when it comes to their levels of healthy ingredients. The list of their special properties is impressive. A few small studies have shown that the juices of red and purple grape reduce the stickiness of platelets, a factor that is part of the current focus on heart health and its link to grape consumption. Resveratrol, found in ample quantities in red grapes, cleans the arteries and is said to protect against atherosclerosis. Here is a brief rundown of the healthy qualities of red grapes.

  • Anthocyanins: Flavonoids, imparting the pigment to red grapes and considered to be powerful antioxidants
  • Resveratrol: A polyphenol protecting against inflammatory problems and cancer
  • Carotene: High amounts of beta carotene
  • Vitamins: C, E and K 
  • Minerals: Magnesium, iron, copper and calcium

Green and White Grapes

You are not alone if you prefer green and white grapes to red. Even if they win less points than red in nutrition, green and white simply taste good. Even though they don’t have the anthocyanins found in red grapes, they have antioxidants and other nutrients. You can also find vitamins A, C and K, and minerals such as calcium and iron. Some medical experts think that white grapes are especially helpful for digestion. Botanists note that green grapes have been used as diet detoxifiers.

Green and white varieties are beneficial in what they have less of. Concord grapes have a high level of oxalates, which are not good if you have a tendency toward gallstones. Green grapes have fewer oxalates. Popular varieties in the green and white category are Thompsons and Perlettes.

  • Thompson grapes are sweet and juicy. Sultana raisins are often processed from Thompson grapes.  Bakers love working with sultanas because of their juicy sweetness. They use sultanas for artisan rye breads, scones, muffins and honey cakes. 
  • Perlettes are round berries that are tart and mild. Their name derives from their appearance as pearl-like green.

Either Choice Helps

In place of candy or cookies, you cannot go wrong whether your choice is red or any green variety. Grapes are natural fruits. While red grapes have more points in nutritive value, both red and green grapes are healthy. Both carry well-researched benefits. Scientific studies offer impressive evidence that polyphenols (antioxidants) are your safeguard against inflammatory and cardiovascular problems.


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