Grapes, which are botanically classified as a berry, started their cultivation journey around 7000 years ago in Western Asia. Soon after it was discovered that they were a sweet, delicious fruit came the discovery of their naturally occurring yeast and ability to ferment into wine, with the oldest documented winery dating back to 4000 BC in Armenia.
Because grapes are so versatile and can be grown in a variety of climates, one study estimates the world produces around 72 million tons of grapes a year, with the majority of those crops destined for wine.
And while drinking a nice merlot or Riesling can be a great way to end a long day, grapes themselves have a lot of health benefits — especially when blended up into smoothies!
The Health Benefits of Grapes
One of the biggest health benefits of grapes (and what has probably driven the popularity of wine) is resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin and seeds of grapes that has been scientifically linked “to the expression of several longevity genes.” Like most other antioxidants, resveratrol has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which may explain why it helps to keep the cells in our bodies healthy.
Polyphenols, which are also antioxidants, are abundant in grapes, and have been linked to lowered cholesterol, better heart health, and lowered inflammation in the body.
Grapes are quite high in vitamins C and K, two extremely important vitamins when it comes to healthy bones and a healthy immune system. They also contain a good amount of fiber, copper and manganese per serving.
If you’re looking to protect your heart, immune system, and nervous system, as well as keep harmful inflammation at bay, consider adding grapes (or one glass of red wine) to your daily diet!
The Taste of Grapes
From Concord to Cotton Candy, there are many, many different types of grapes out there, but almost all of them taste light and sweet. Because grapes are higher in sugar than other fruits, a small handful is really all you need when building a smoothie around them!
Where to Buy Grapes
Grapes are easy to find in most grocery stores and at most farmer’s markets. One note: Even though raisins are dried grapes, because of their higher sugar content, the health benefits are lessened.
Smoothie Recipes With Grapes
Grapes (especially when frozen first), are a fantastic base for green smoothies because they provide almost an equal amount of sweetness and fiber. If you’re looking to brighten up a mostly “green” smoothie, consider adding a small handful of frozen grapes.
Here are some of our favorite smoothie recipes that include these sweet little berries!
Rambutan Lavender Lemonade
Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, rambutans look like little sea urchins on the outside, and have a white, fleshly fruit inside that has a taste similar to a slightly sour grape. High in vitamin C, copper and iron, rambutan is also rich in phosphorus, which helps the kidney transfer waste out of the body. Lavender has been shown to help with fungal infections, wound healing, and general anxiety -- it’s a potent calming herb. Add in some alkalizing lemon, antioxidant-rich maqui berry and grapes, and hydrating honeydew and zucchini, and you have a smoothie that’s as calming and refreshing as a tropical summer breeze.
Warm you immune and nervous system with camu camu. Native to the rainforests of Peru and Brazil, camu camu has more vitamin C than almost any other food source on the planet. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties make it a great way to ward off colds and infections as the weather gets chilly, and has even been prescribed as a natural depression remedy. Walnuts provide a healthy dose of Omega-3s as well as antioxidants, and grapes are full of cancer-fighting polyphenols.
Peach Jelly Donut
Ready for the upcoming holiday? That’s right, June 5th is National Donut Day! Drink a healthier donut in the form of this yummy treat. Green squash provides Vitamins A and C-- both excellent for the skin. Paired with cashews, it’s a rich, creamy base for the donut. Peaches are a sweet harbinger of summer. Red grapes are the jelly, and a source of the compound resveratol, known for its anti-aging properties. Throw some hibiscus flowers on top and you’ve got sprinkles!
Summer Snow Peas
Summer snow peas have “summer” in their name. (Also “snow,” but that’s a long way off.) Though the snap and crunch have been blended out, the flavor and nutrients remain. Peas contain iron, magnesium, phosphorus and and potassium. Sweet grapes and pear complement the tasty peas, and almond provide satiating protein and healthy fats. Moringa comes from a plant called the “miracle tree;” Ayurvedic medicine claims it cures over 300 ailments!
Green Spirulina and Honeydew
Summertime greenery is in full bloom! Taste all the best flavors of the farmers market in a single glass. Zucchini is a versatile classic; from ratatouille to fresh-baked bread, it fits in anywhere. Mixed with refreshing honeydew and sweet grapes, the summer squash takes on new flavor dimensions. Zucchini provides the phytonutrients lutein and zeaxanthin, which similar to beta-carotene are good for the vision. Add spirulina for even more clean, green goodness!
Fresh Purple Fig
A purple smoothie that evokes the Mediterranean? Sign us up! Fiber-rich figs are full of potassium, which can help reduce blood pressure. Grapes have all the health benefits of red wine (polyphenols) with none of the hangover, and maqui powder has antiviral properties that benefit the cardiovascular system. Top off this light drink with hemp seed, which is full of Omega-3 and Omega-6, and you’ve got a refreshing, nutrient-dense alternative to store-bought juice.
You’ll feel smooth as a Georgia peach with this pie in a glass! Cashews and quinoa provide protein in addition to a hearty comfort food vibe. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger mixed with almond milk complement and bring out the flavor of the fruits. You're sneaking in your greens with fresh mesclun. And don't forget the grapes-- an excellent source of resveratrol, a regenerative compound that helps with skin renewal.
Concord Grape Gulp
In addition to having a delicious, tart taste that’s decidedly recognizable, research on concord grapes shows that they help support flexible arteries, which keeps blood flowing freely around the body, as well as healthy blood pressure. Evidence also suggests that they aid in cognitive health. And while you might initially feel odd about adding tofu to a smoothie, this soft, spongy protein made from soybeans is virtually tasteless, and adds a nice thickness to anything it’s blended with. Maqui berry powder is super rich in antioxidants, and helps to make this smoothie a triple threat full of protein, immune-boosting goodness, and a sweet, creamy texture.
Placid Pomegranate Oatmeal
Full of fiber and even a little protein, pomegranates are known for being a favorite holiday flavor, as well as for their antioxidant power. They’re also fantastic at treating inflammation in the body. Cashews are a low fat nut, and the fat that do contain is directly responsible for helping our body process energy in the most efficient way. Oats will help you feel satisfied and grounded with their heart-healthy fiber, and grapes and pear add a sweet (but not too sweet) base. After a long, stressful day, this might be just the thing to renew your senses!
Almond Reishi Refresh
Used for centuries in Chinese medicine, reishi mushrooms have been touted as having “lifespan-extending properties,” as well as the ability to fight inflammation. Grapes are full of polyphenols, some of the best antioxidants for immune system health, and almonds have been praised time and time again for being one of the best snacks here is. Combine these super foods with healthy fiber from a pear and vitamins A, C and K from mild baby bok choy, and you have a nutritionally complete smoothie that can help health your entire body!
While a traditional Irish coffee is made with whiskey, this healthy smoothie version uses green coffee powder, which is made from unroasted coffee beans. In addition to being rich in antioxidants (as well as caffeine), green coffee also contains chlorogenic acid, a natural compound that has been linked to weight loss. Mixing it up with some heart-healthy, cholesterol-lowering rolled oats, creamy coconut milk, cancer-fighting grapes, and collard greens (rich in vitamin A and protein), and you’ve got an energizing green drink that will keep you satisfied all day long.
Mint Plum Power
One of the most antioxidant-rich foods ever recorded, maqui berry also contains calcium and iron. Almonds are one of the healthiest foods on the planet, and have enough fiber, protein and healthy fat to keep you satisfied for hours. We’ve combined these superfoods with digestion-easing mint, and the light, sweet flavors of grapes, plum and pear (all of which contain healthy fiber), to create a smoothie that even the pickiest of eaters (or the youngest members of your family) will enjoy sipping before their first big day back to school!
Low in carbs and calories, squash is full of iron, folate and beta carotene, and because of its mild flavor, it’s the perfect way to amp up the nutrition of a smoothie without sacrificing taste. Grapes are full of powerful polyphenols, oats and pear are full of cholesterol-lowering fiber, and peanut butter has a dose of healthy fat and protein. If you’re looking for an afternoon snack that will keep you energized and hydrated until dinner, you’ve come to the right smoothie!
A great natural source of energy (due to healthy fat, protein and fiber), coconut flakes are the perfect way to get a decadent, creamy smoothie without using dairy. Pecans (which have the highest antioxidant capacity of any nut), also pack a dose of healthy fat and protein. And thanks to chard (vitamins K and A), a pear (fiber and beta-carotene), and grapes (cancer-fighting polyphenols), this sweet drink is also packed with nutrients.
Many people know that spinach is high in nutrients like iron, folate and vitamins A and K, but it also has quite a hefty dose of vitamin C per serving. Lemon is full of vitamin C as well, and grapes have it too, as well as powerful antioxidants called polyphenols. Almonds are some of the healthiest nuts you can eat (studies suggest a handful a day might just help you lose weight), and pears have a delicate, sweet taste combined with lots of fiber. You’ll feel lifted, energized and light on your feet with this low calorie, high fiber drink.