What is Grape-seed Oil?
As the name obviously suggests, the oil is pressed from the seeds of grapes. The oil is hence a by-product of wine-making. The oil has been in existence for over 6,000 years. As per certain sources, the Europeans had used the oil to treat diseases related to the eye and skin. And since the turn of the 20th century, grape seed oil started garnering attention from scientists and the like.
Grape-seed oil is a good source of Essential Fatty Acid – linoleic acid, vitamin E, polyphenols – flavonoids and oligomeric proanthocyanidin. The oil has many health benefits which includes skin care, hair health, boosts immunity among others.
How Grape-seed Oil Is Made
Grapeseed oil is obviously made from grapes, but what you might not know is that it’s usually a leftover by-product of wine making. After wine is made, by pressing the juice from grapes and leaving the seeds behind, oils are extracted from the crushed seeds. It might seem odd that oil is held within the seed of a fruit, but in fact, a small amount of some type of fat is found inside just about every seed, even seeds of grains, legumes, vegetables and so on.
Oils can be made in various ways — for example, some are “cold-pressed” or “expeller-pressed” (like unrefined virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil), while others require chemical solvents and a very lengthy process to draw the oils out. In order to extract the oil from the tiny grape seeds, heavy machinery and sometimes chemicals need to be used. Some modern industrial machines used to make grapeseed oil heat the oil to very high temperatures, which is the opposite of what we want, since this can destroy the oil. So for this reason, the potential benefits of different grapeseed oils depends a lot on how they were processed and bottled.
Can you turn a good fat into a bad fat by cooking some oil at high heats? You bet you can. This process is called oxidation, and it happens when an unstable oil is heated to a point where its molecular composition is changed. This can turn the oil “rancid” and make it increase inflammation, rather than helping us out by doing the opposite. Because refined vegetable oils are prone to oxidation when you cook with them, you want to stay away from potentially rancid oils as much as you can.
The same can also happen when an unstable oil is old and sitting for a long time, especially if it’s exposed to light and high heats while sitting on shelves, whether in stores or your own kitchen.
Grape-seed Oil Nutrition Facts
One tablespoon of grapeseed oil has about:
- 14 grams fat (about 10 percent of which is saturated fat, 16 percent monounsaturated and 70 percent polyunsaturated)
- 120 calories
- 9 milligrams vitamin E (19 percent DV)
Just like with other vegetable oils (such as corn, safflower, soybean or sunflower or canola oil), you might have heard that grape-seed oil is healthy because it contains unsaturated fats known as PUFAs, in addition to small amounts of vitamins like vitamin E. Grape-seed oil has been tied to lower cholesterol levels, improved heart health and certain other health benefits, so it’s easy to easy why people assume it’s a good choice. And it can be — it just depends on how it fits in to someone’s overall diet and how it’s used.
SERVING SIZE 218 G
|Amounts per serving|
|Calories 1927||Calories from Fat 1927|
|Total Fat||218 g||335%|
|Saturated Fat||20 g||100%|
Good Source of Vitamin E
Grape-seed oil contains a good amount of vitamin E, which is an important antioxidant that most people could use more of. Compared to olive oil, it offers about double the vitamin E! This is huge, because vitamin E benefits immunity greatly, as well as several other important bodily functions.
Is Grape-seed Oil Healthy?
This question primarily boils down to one factor – omega-6 fatty acids. Grape seed oil contains both omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. But the former is present in larger amounts. And that can cause a problem.
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Grape seed oil has the highest levels of omega-6 fatty acids – as compared to other vegetable oils. Though omega-6s are not bad by themselves, they can cause complications when consumed in excess. Certain potential conditions include increased inflammation, elevated risk of obesity, and increased cholesterol levels. Also, after all, it is an oil. Which is why one must consume it sparingly as it contains fat. For women, the dosage is 5 to 6 teaspoons per day, and in the case of men, it is 6 to 7 teaspoons. This dosage is for any oil.
Another important factor to consider is the processing. Most types of commercially available grape seed oil are processed – they are made using chemical solvents like hexane, which is considered a neurotoxin. We don’t know what chemical solvents like this can do to humans – irrespective of the amounts in which they are consumed.
Though grape seeds are rich in nutrients, certain studies state that it is not the case with the oil. Most antioxidants, including the proanthocyanidins from the grape seeds, were not present in the oil. But we can’t come to a conclusion yet. Not until we have seen the grape-seed oil benefits and side effects.
Health Benefits of Grape-seed Oil
1. Hair Health
Grapeseed oil helps to moisturize and condition the hair without leaving it feeling greasy. It also reduces dandruff and hair loss and strengthens the hair as well – enabling it to grow faster. The vitamin E content in the oil helps build the hair tissue, and the linoleic acid in the oil promotes hair growth.
2. Skin Care
Grapeseed oil is rich in vitamins C, D and E which help reduce wrinkles and scars. It helps in tightening the skin. The polyphenols and antioxidants in the oil help treat acne as well. The oil also acts as an able moisturizer – balancing both the dry and oily patches on the skin. As a toner, the oil can penetrate pores and cleanse the skin – thereby curing breakouts.
The oil has oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) which help restore collagen. 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.
3. Boosts Immune System
Grapeseed oil contains high levels of vitamin E which is an important antioxidant. 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.
4. Prevents high blood pressure
Grapeseed oil contains flavonoids, phenolic procyanidins and linoleic acid which protect the blood vessels from becoming damaged, which may prevent high blood pressure.
5. Reduces Cancer Risk
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. A study published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research revealed that the seeds contain properties that may reduce the severity of skin cancer.
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.
6. Aids in wound Healing
Grapeseed oil aid in wound healing 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.
7. Heart Health
Grape seed oil helps lower the level of low density lipoprotein cholestrol and increase the level of high density lipoprotein cholestrol, which can reduce the risk of coronary diseases.
8. Prevents Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are caused by damaged blood vessels and compromise the ability of the capillaries to manage blood flow in the veins, which results in pooling of the blood inside the veins. Grapeseed oils contains oligomeric proanthocyanidin and flavonoids, which are known to help with capillary integrity.
9. Prevents and Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis
Grapeseed oil improve the production of collagen which is important for maintaining healthy connective tissues in our joints. Its anti-inflammatory activity may also reduce the pain caused by arthritis.
10. Treat Bags Under Eyes
Grape-seed oil help alleviate the presence bags under the eye. It can also improve lines around the eyes as well. You could also mix the grape oil with butter to improve it’s moisturizing effects.
11. High Smoke Point Compared to Other Vegetable Oils
PUFAs are not usually the best choice for cooking because they’re known to oxidize easily and become “toxic.” However, grapeseed oil has a moderately higher smoke point than olive oil or certain other PUFA vegetable oils.
12. Zero Trans Fat and Non-hydrogenated
There might still be some debate as to which ratios of different fatty acids are best, but there is no debate about the dangers of trans fats and hydrogenated fats, which is why they should be avoided. Trans fats are commonly found in fast food, packaged snacks and fried foods. The evidence is so clear that they’re bad for our health that they’re even being banned in some cases now, and many large food manufacturers are committing to moving away from using them for good.
What are Other Uses of Grape Seed Oil? (Insufficient Information)
It is claimed that there are numerous other grape-seed oil benefits. Though these were found to be true in certain studies and personal testimonies, further research is required.
- In some cases, the oil has been found to offer relief to diabetics. It can also help prevent cancer.
- Grape seed oil can help reduce your dark circles. Its powerful antioxidant properties can help in this aspect. All you need to do is apply some of the oil under your eyes before you sleep.
- The oil also combats hair allergies – it is hypoallergenic, and suits even sensitive scalp.
That’s the benefits of grapeseed oil. But you can’t know everything about something unless you peer into its dark side.
How Grape-seed Oil Can Be Unhealthy?
So, what are grape seed oil skin side effects? Herbs, like grape seed and its oil, might contain components that could interact with other medications and supplements. Certain common side effects include nausea, itching, stomach upset, headache, and sore throat.
Other severe allergic reactions to the oil include rashes, hives, difficulty in breathing, swelling of the face and mouth, and tightness in the chest.
We sure did discuss that not all omega-6s cause inflammation. Yes – but grape seed oil might also contain those omega-6s that do. As we have already discussed in the beginning, a diet extremely high in omega-6 fatty acids can cause inflammation, cholesterol, and obesity.
According to one Brazilian study, the beneficial effects of grape seed oil discovered in studies happened in small control groups and not in large scale research. This throws a skeptic light on the much-acclaimed benefits of the oil.
As per another report, though there might be significant grapeseed oil extract benefits, there is no direct evidence substantiating the oil’s desirable effects. And coming to calories, grape seed oil could be a little on the higher end. One tablespoon of the oil contains about 120 calories.
Keeping the lack of evidence aside, grape seed oil is very high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). But what we must also know is that there are various kinds of PUFAS – omega-3s, omega-6s, and omega-9s. Where things get scary is that an excess of omega-6s in the diet in comparison to other PUFAs can cause problems. There must be a balance.
More importantly, grape seed oil has more omega-6 fatty acids than other vegetable oils. For your better understanding –
- Grape seed oil contains 70% omega-6 fatty acids
- Sunflower oil, it’s 68%
- Corn oil, it’s 54%
- Soybean oil, it’s 51%
- Canola oil, it’s 19%
It is vital to understand that omega-6s by themselves are not bad. They are required for overall health. But when they are consumed in excess, harm occurs. The omega-3s and omega-6s we get from our diets compete with each other as they undergo chemical reactions in the body. Both these types of PUFAs are important for brain functioning and metabolism, etc.
And like we said, when the concentration of omega-6s in our body is higher when compared to omega-3s, problems arise.
Some of those problems include –
Increased heart disease risk – According to the American Heart Association, consuming anywhere between 5 to 10 percent of the total calorie intake of omega-6s, is safe. Which is the amount most people already eat (and which is why grape seed oil could do harm, since it’s higher in omega-6s). When this exceeds, your heart is in danger.
Obesity – Excess intake of omega-6s causes inflammation, and this impairs the body’s ability to balance hormones. This ultimately affects metabolism, leading to weight gain, and in the long run, obesity. The imbalance in hormones might even hamper the working of your thyroid gland – and this can result in obesity as well.
Higher cholesterol: When we obtain free radicals from toxic foods, which can happen in the case of PUFAs that become oxidized and molecularly damaged, our body isn’t able to metabolize and use cholesterol as well. This can up the risk for clogged arteries, heart disease and so on.
Hormonal imbalance and thyroid disorders: Inflammation damages our ability to produce and balance important hormones. Very high levels of omega-6s might be able to interfere with your ability to produce sex hormones and mood-stabilizing hormones and can interfere with thyroid activity.
Increased inflammation: As you’ve learned, excessive PUFA consumption can lead to heightened inflammation, which increases the risks for diseases of the heart, blood vessels, brain and just about everywhere else too — including forming cancer. Inflammation takes place when free radicals alter the way DNA works, attack cell membranes and change the way the immune system works. The more inflammation you experience, the earlier you show signs of aging and the more likely you are to deal with disease.
If grape seed oil is giving you jitters already, you can substitute it with canola (rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that are good for the heart), coconut (rich in lauric acid that has immune-boosting effects), or sesame (rich in antioxidants that help lower blood pressure) oils. Talking about dosage, there is no specified amount. Certain studies have prescribed 100 to 300 milligrams of the oil a day, but otherwise, no one knows the upper limit.
What Are The Best Types Of Grape Seed Oil?
Before we figure out what the best type of grape-seed oil is, let’s take a brief look at how the oil is made.
The oil, obviously, is made from grapes. But how it is made is of importance. It is a leftover by-product of the winemaking process. The wine is made by pressing the juice out of the fruit and leaving the seeds behind. These seeds are then crushed, and the oil is extracted from them.
This extraction of oils can happen in multiple ways. One is cold-pressing the oil. The seeds are pressed with a modern steel press. Cold-pressed oils retain their aroma, flavor, and nutrition. They also retain their wonderful benefits.
Another way is introducing chemical solvents (like hexane, as we saw before) and then following a lengthy process to draw the oils out of the seeds. Most modern industrial machines even heat the oil to extremely high temperatures – and we don’t want this as the oil is completely destroyed in the process.
This is why how a particular grape seed oil is prepared is of major importance. The oil contains fat, and heating it (which is what most usually is done) can turn it into bad fat. The oil’s molecular composition changes. It turns rancid and has undesirable effects.
Hence, you need to choose that grape seed oil that is the least processed. Make sure you get an organic, cold pressed, solvent free brand! Look for the indication on the bottle.
Where To Buy Grape-seed Oil?
And we have a bonus for you – if you are looking for organic grape seed oil, here you go.
Cooking With Grape-seed Oil
Grapeseed oil can be a good substitute for olive oil at times when stir-frying and sauteing, and it’s definitely a step up from vegetable oils. In terms of its taste, it’s virtually flavorless and odorless, which some people like because it doesn’t alter the taste of recipes like coconut or olive oil sometimes can.
If you purchase and use grapeseed oil, make it the highest quality you can get your hands on. Ideally, always look for organic, cold-pressed oils — even when purchasing extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Cold-pressing, or expeller-pressing, means that the oil wasn’t heated to very high temperatures during the manufacturing process, which keeps the molecular composition of the fatty acids from negatively changing. Cold-pressing is basically using powerful machines to squeeze the oil out, without exposing it to chemical solvents or other ingredients that can make their way into the oil and be damaging to your health.
Look for an indication on any bottle of oil that you buy that states how it was made. You can assume that unless the bottle states that it was cold- or expeller-pressed that it likely wasn’t. To cut costs and speed up efficiency, most manufacturers turn to solvents such as hexane, along with high-heat machines, during the processing period. So you might have to pay a bit more for a high-quality grapeseed oil, but it’s worth it.
When it comes to cooking, grapeseed oil is a better choice than olive oil. It’s more stable than olive oil or other refined vegetable oils and has similar properties to coconut oil in that it can be heated without going rancid easily.
Still, I recommend using coconut oil or even grass-fed butter/ghee when cooking above both grapeseed or olive oil. Coconut oil is usually solid in form since it’s a mostly saturated fat, but this doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy — in fact, just the opposite. Coconut has the highest heat threshold of most common cooking oils and can withstand higher temperatures than monounsaturated fats. Butter and ghee are similar in that they don’t become rancid easily, so use these when cooking at high heats as well (pan frying, roasting, baking, grilling, for example) instead of grapeseed oil.
Grape seed Oil Recipe
Look out, canola! Make room, olive oil! There’s a new favorite cooking oil in my kitchen. I’m a little late to the party with my discovery of grapeseed oil, but I’m glad I made it here in the end.
Grapeseed oil has a very neutral flavor that tastes “light” to me when tried on its own and that disappears into the dish during cooking. For an all-purpose cooking oil, this is exactly what I want. Here are the three ways I’ve been using it the most:
1. Quick Stir-Fries and Sautés:
I think this is where grapeseed oil is really at its best. It has a higher smoke point than many other oils, so I don’t worry about adding it to hot woks or skillets. The mildness of the oil also lets the fresh flavors of the stir-fries shine through.
- 2 (8.8-oz.) pkg. precooked jasmine rice (such as Uncle Ben’s)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons Szechuan peppercorns or black peppercorns
- 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
- 1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 3-in. strips
- 1 1/2 cups very thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1 small julienne-cut red bell pepper
- 6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup (1/2-in.) sliced scallions
- 1 teaspoon crushed Aleppo pepper (optional)
How to Make It
- Heat rice according to package directions. Set aside; keep warm.
- Heat cumin and peppercorns in a large skillet over high. Cook 1 minute or until fragrant and toasted, stirring frequently. Cool slightly; crush with a mortar and pestle, or grind coarsely in an electric spice grinder.
- Heat 2 teaspoons oil in pan over medium-high. Add half of lamb; stir-fry 3 minutes or until browned. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon spice mixture. Transfer to a plate. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and lamb and 1 teaspoon spice mixture.
- Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; stir-fry 4 minutes or until lightly charred. Add crushed red pepper and remaining spice mixture; stir-fry 1 minute. Add cooked lamb and any juices from plate, soy sauce, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Cook, tossing constantly, until liquid coats meat and vegetables. Remove from heat. Add scallions; toss to wilt. Serve stir-fry over rice. Sprinkle with Aleppo pepper, if desired.
2. On the Grill:
Another high-heat application for grapeseed oil. I use it to wipe down the hot grill and for coating the food itself with oil.
3. Roasting Vegetables:
I normally toss my vegetables in olive oil for roasting, but have found myself reaching for the grapeseed oil lately. Again, its mild flavor is a bonus here, and I like it especially with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes. I’ll still switch back to olive oil when I want more flavor, but I like having the option of the grapeseed oil.
So what now?
We know that omega-3s are the best. And omega-6s are not as healthy. And since grape seed oil is high in the latter, it may not be the ideal choice most of the time (and for most people).
You can use other healthy oils (like olive oil) for cooking, and make use of grape seed oil for its skin and hair benefits. In cooking, maybe once a while. That’s all.