"Eat more fiber." You've probably heard that nugget of nutritional wisdom before, but it bears repeating because fiber can improve your health and prevent chronic diseases. Adding fruits and vegetables to your daily diet is one way to boost your fiber intake, and red grapes are among the many varieties that supply this essential nutrient. You won't get a huge dose of fiber from a serving of red grapes, but small amounts here and there can add up to a big difference.
Fiber in Red Grapes
The average diet includes just 15 grams of fiber, the Harvard School of Public Health reports. That's far less than you need to maintain your health and stave off certain health problems. In fact, women should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber each day, according to MayoClinic.com. One cup of red grapes supplies 1.4 grams of dietary fiber, which is about 6 percent of that goal.
Importance of Fiber
Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body can't digest. Because it passes through your digestive system without being digested, it helps absorb excess cholesterol, which can lower your overall levels. Keeping your cholesterol levels in the healthy range lowers your risk of heart disease. Fiber improves your digestive health, too. Fiber helps bulk up your stool, which makes it easier to pass and encourages regularity, both of which reduce your risk of becoming constipated. Fiber might lower your chances of developing type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer, as well, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Where they're lacking in large amounts of fiber, red grapes offer other health benefits that make them worth adding to your diet. The vivid red color of the grape skin is a good source of resveratrol, an antioxidant that can lower your risk of heart disease, as well as diseases that affect your brain and central nervous system, according to a 2009 article published in the "Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology." A 1-cup serving of red grapes supplies 288 milligrams of potassium, which is 6 percent of the 4,700 milligrams women need each day. Potassium is essential for the health of your muscles, heart and digestive system. The same cup of grapes contains 22 micrograms of vitamin K. That's 24 percent of the 90 micrograms you need each day to ensure that your blood clots properly.
A handful of chilled red grapes is a tasty and nutritious snack, but the fruit lends itself to a variety of other preparations and recipes, as well. Puree fresh red grapes into your favorite fruit smoothie. Dice red grapes into a spinach salad or toss them with walnuts and nutmeg for a sweet treat. Saute red grapes with red cooking wine and use the combination as a tasty topping for grilled pork chops or chicken breasts.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Grapes, Red or Green (European Type, Such as Thompson Seedless), Raw
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology: Grapes, Wine, Resveratrol and Heart Health
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Potassium
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Vitamin K
Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.