Grapeseed oil is extracted from the seeds of grapes, typically wine grapes. While grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the world, just about everyone tosses out their seeds, but experts say those seeds may actually be the healthiest part of the grape. The seeds are loaded with powerful antioxidants and natural plant compounds known as oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, or OPCs.
OPCs have been extensively studied and are well known for their potent antioxidant activity, which means that they can help battle free radicals that can lead to premature aging and/or a host of chronic diseases. These compounds also have shown all sorts of other beneficial properties for the body, including being anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, antiviral and antibacterial.
Grapeseed oil also contains a high level of compounds called procyanidin dimers that act as aromatase inhibitors, which is believed to be another way they may help prevent and treat cancer.
The oil has two primary uses, including cosmetic and culinary applications. When purchasing it to use as a food, you’ll need to check to make sure it’s marked as food grade – such as this culinary grapeseed oil. There are numerous ways to use it as a food – culinary grapeseed oil has a very high smoking point, so it’s good for frying food without overpowering other flavors, and it can also be used in dressings and sauces.
Grapeseed oil is especially popular for cosmetic use. In fact, you might see it as an ingredient in products on store shelves, like sunscreen, moisturizing cream and a host of other beauty-related items. It’s believed to assist in skin repair and offers antiseptic as well as mildly astringent properties.
The benefits of the oil for health, hair and skin, are many, including these.
Health Benefits of Grapeseed Oil
Preventing high blood pressure
As mentioned, grapeseed oil is loaded with powerful antioxidants, which include flavonoids, phenolic procyanidins and linoleic acid. These substances can potentially protect the blood vessels from becoming damaged, which may prevent high blood pressure. One study published in January 2015 found that a grape seed extract beverage was able to improve blood pressure in human participants who had been diagnosed with prehypertension, while another recently published study out of Spain found that just a single dose managed to improve blood pressure in rats with hypertension.
Strengthening the immune system
Grapeseed oil contains high levels of vitamin E – just one tablespoon offers 3.9 milligrams of the vitamin, which is about a third of the daily recommended requirement for adults, and twice the amount contained in a tablespoon of olive oil.
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that most people could use more of in their diet. It offers significant benefits to the immune system. It stimulates the production of natural killer cells that seek out and destroy cancer cells and germs, and it also enhances the production of B-cells, which are the immune cells that produce the antibodies that eradicate bacteria.
Delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease
Grapeseed extract has been shown to help delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease in rats. The extract offers similar properties as the oil, and scientists from Adelaide, Australia’s Flinders University found that it reduced inflammation and prevent the accumulation of compounds known to form brain plaque linked to Alzheimer’s. The researchers concluded that the results were promising in delaying the development of the disease.
The proanthocyanidins found in grape seeds may help prevent the development of skin cancer. Scientific research has also shown that they may even be able to slow the growth of cancer cells in cancer patients – without the potentially deadly and disabling side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research revealed that the seeds contain properties that may reduce the severity of skin cancer. The scientists concluded that grape seed “could be useful in the attenuation of the adverse UV-induced health effects in human skin.”
In a December 2012 article in the journal Cancer Letters, researchers stated that grape seed was effective in battling colorectal cancer in experiments using cultured cancer cells. They noted that the benefits increased with the higher stages of cancer.
There are multiple studies that have shown that regular consumption of grape seeds may be important for preventing cancer as well as trigger cancer cells to self destruct.
In addition to skin cancer and colorectal cancer studies, research published in the journal Prostate found that the OPCs in grapeseed oil were able to help stop the spread of prostate cancer cells – and, they also caused cell death in prostate cancer cells. The University of Maryland Medical Center also notes: “Studies have found that grape seed extracts may prevent the growth of breast, stomach, colon, prostate, and lung cancer cells in test tubes. However, there is no clear evidence whether it works in humans. Antioxidants, such as those found in grape seed extract, may help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Grape seed extract may also help prevent damage to human liver cells caused by chemotherapy medications.”
Speeds wound healing
Grape seeds have also been found to speed the healing of wounds. A study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine, “provided firm evidence to support that topical application of GSPE represents a feasible and productive approach to support dermal wound healing.”
The researchers said that grapeseed extract seemed to aid wound healing both by helping the body make more of a compound used to regenerate damaged blood vessels, as well as increasing the amount of free radicals at the wound site. Free radicals help to clear potentially pathogenic bacteria from a wound.
In two related experiments, the scientists tested the effects of the extract on mice as well as human skin cells. It was the first evidence thus far that has suggested that a natural extract could have such a “profound effect on wound healing,” study co-author and director of the Laboratory of Molecular Medicine at Ohio State University’s Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute Chandan Sen noted.
“We saw the healing effects grape-seed extract had on wounds from day one,” Sen added. “It seemed to enhance the formation of epidermal tissue as well as the deposition of connective tissue.”
Grape seeds can also help to reduce swelling that can occur after surgery or an injury. The University of Maryland Medical Center notes that using the extract may improve chronic venous insufficiency, which causes swelling when blood pools in the leg. A double-blind placebo-controlled study discovered that patients with breast cancer who took 600 milligrams of grapeseed extract daily for six months had less edema (swelling) as compared to those who took a placebo.
The beneficial compound known as proanthocyanidin works wonders for your health as mentioned previously, and it can also help lower your overall cholesterol levels. A study conducted out of Georgetown University Medical Center published in the Journal of Medicine showed that grapeseed extract was able to reduce overall cholesterol levels as well as LDL, or low-density lipoprotein.
Beauty Benefits of Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil is often found in hair care products as it’s known to help make it soft and smooth, and even promote hair growth. The oil is ideal for moisturizing and conditioning dry hair, as it’s lighter than coconut oil and olive oil, and won’t leave your hair feeling greasy. As it has no scent, it won’t leave a lingering odor either. The oil works to prevent frizz, split ends and brittle hair while locking in moisture.
Grapeseed oil is also effective, and even surpasses its counterparts, with the ability to address hair loss, dandruff and weakened hair. Regular use, by, for example, coating the hair in the oil and allowing it to set for 10 minutes before rinsing with cold water, will likely leave you with more attractive, healthier, stronger and even longer hair. Its high vitamin E content, proteins, minerals and linoleic acid are what you have to thank for it!
As mentioned, many people use grapeseed oil to benefit their skin, mainly for its emollient properties. That’s why you’ll see it in so many cosmetics, such as creams, lotions and lip balm. Its powerful antioxidant properties can also work to delay skin aging by minimizing damage caused by free radicals. It leaves the skin looking younger, improving overall appearance.
The oil can also offer protection against sun damage, and it has astringent properties which work to tighten the skin. Because it contains linoleic acid, it can also benefit a variety of skin problems, including acne, eczema and dermatitis. This same compound helps to nourish and soothe as well as aiding in the repair of the skin. Vitamin E is the component that helps the skin stay smooth and firm.
The oil can be used to help reduce the appearance of age spots, relieve a sunburn, diminish wrinkles and stretch marks.
While it may sound counter-intuitive to use an oil to treat oily skin, grapeseed oil can surprisingly do just that. If you allow your skin to dry out, it can actually increase the oiliness of your skin as that’s the skin’s natural reaction when it gets too dry. Grapeseed oil is light so it doesn’t leave the skin with a heavy, greasy feeling. Instead, it moisturizes while balancing oily and dry areas. Grapeseed oil also works as a great carrier oil to mix with essential oils to experience the skin nourishing benefits of certain essential oils.
The oil can help to restore collagen too, thanks to it being rich in those OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins). These compounds help to eradicate free radicals and promote the restoration of collagen at the cellular level. It makes your skin feel firmer, while also minimizing and preventing signs of damage.
Ready to try grapeseed oil for health and beauty? Pick up a bottle of Culinary Grapeseed Oil here, or if you want to use grapeseed oil topically on your skin and hair, then buy a bottle of Beauty Aura Grapeseed Oil here.