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Black grapes, velvety colored and deliciously sweet and juicy, can be consumed fresh and raw, dried as raisins or as a juice. Rich in nutrients, black seedless grapes are similar in taste and texture to red or green grapes, but because of their skin color, they have a higher antioxidant content. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends between 1 1/2 and 2 cups of fruit each day as part of a balanced diet, and eating black grapes will help you meet that goal.
Black grapes, also sometimes known as Concord grapes or slip skin grapes, are sold fresh or made into fresh juice, jams or jellies. They are rich in a number of nutrients, including natural antioxidants, and can be part of a healthy diet that reduces the number of calories you consume, helping you lose weight.
Black seedless grapes are available year-round, with peak season in the summer and fall.
How to Buy Black Grapes
The best way to ensure that you are buying fresh black grapes is to hold the bunch by its stem and shake them. If the grapes fall from the stem, it means they have been stored for a long time and should not be eaten. Bunches are held together if the stem is green.
Sometimes, grapes have a white coating on their surface. This coating, known as bloom, is a harmless, natural substance that provides protection against loss of moisture, fungus, and decay.
Avoid grapes with soft or wrinkled skin or stems that are brown or brittle. This might be a sign of freezing or drying. Grapes with bleached areas around the stem or leaking berries should also be avoided as they indicate poor quality or decay.
Tips on Storing Black Grapes
Proper storage of grapes is essential for keeping the fruits fresh and avoiding any injury or decay. Unwashed grapes should be kept in a plastic bag or an airtight container, and stored in the coolest part of the refrigerator. Grapes can be stored for a week, but their quality diminishes with time.
Nutritional Information on Black Grapes
Black grapes aren’t just delicious; this tiny fruit is packed with nutrients. Juggling between the various choices of foods to meet those varied nutritional requirements can be quite a challenge, but including just a handful of black grapes in your daily diet can get you a lot closer to your nutritional goals.
The nutritional value of black grapes makes it an extremely valuable health food, with a single serving of around 80 g containing:
Calories – 60 kcal
Carbohydrates – 14.0g
Vitamin C – 15% of the average RDA
Protein – 1.0g
Dietary Fiber – 1g
1. Protects the Heart
A study done by the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center suggests that the intake of black grapes may protect one against metabolic syndrome-related organ damage. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that occur together - increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist or low HDL (the good cholesterol) and increased blood triglycerides - significantly increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
2. Improves Vision
Black grapes contain Lutein and Zeaxanthin, which are carotenoids, known to help in maintaining good eyesight. According to a study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine, "diet containing grapes provide significant protection by shielding against oxidative damage of the retina and also prevent blindness."
3. Fights Risk of Cancer
Black grapes exhibit antimutagenic and antioxidant properties that are very effective in combating all kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. The compound resveratrol is a rich source of anti-oxidants and certain elements that are capable of destroying the energy source of cancerous cells. A study done by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Centre found that resveratrol may help prevent alcohol-related head and neck cancers as well.
4. Boosts Brain Function
Grapes work as a brain-protecting agent; it improves memory and concentration and enhances the health of your brain. Due to riboflavin presence, it is beneficial for people suffering from migraines. Resveratrol, found in grapes can reduce the levels of amyloidal-beta peptides in Alzheimer's disease patients.
5. Prevents the Risk of Diabetes
Black grapes are also effective in the prevention of diabetes. They are known to improve the regulation of insulin and increase insulin sensitivity. Pterostilbene is a compound present in grapes that help to lower the sugar levels in the blood. Black grapes have low glycemic index (GI) value ranging from around 43 to 53, which promote better blood sugar balance. Point to note: smaller quantities should be consumed for health benefits.
6. Promotes Healthy Hair
The black grape seed oil contains antioxidants and vitamin E that help in better blood circulation in the scalp, reversing excessive hair loss, split ends and premature gray hair. Grape oil is also known to improve overall hair growth.