Previous research has found that grapes may be good for your bones, heart, and brain, and components of grape seeds may be beneficial in managing weight. Now, new research from the North Carolina Research Campus and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro finds the same benefit may be true for whole grapes.

Eating grape polyphenols (phytochemicals) with high-fat foods leads to 40% less weight gain, according to the research. Grapes can also improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, positively affect intestinal flora and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

 “High fat diets normally trigger chronic inflammation in the intestines,” said Mary Ann Lila, director of the Plants for Human Health Institute and coauthor of the study. “The inflammation can disrupt normal membrane structure and function, and can lead to inability of insulin to signal normally. What this study clearly demonstrated was that grape polyphenols work with natural microbes in our digestive system to create a favorable internal environment for gut health – depressing any low-grade intestinal inflammation, and removing any interference with normal insulin functioning.”