Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil (also called grapeseed oil or grape oil) is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking. Grape seed oil is used for: salad dressings, marinades, deep frying, flavored oils, baking, massage oil, sunburn repair lotion, hair products, body hygiene creams, lip balm and hand creams. Most grape seed oil is produced in Italy, with other producing nations including France, Spain, and Argentina. Although known to Europeans for centuries, grape seed oil was not produced or used on a large scale until the 20th century, largely due to the fact that grape seeds contain a lower percentage of oil as compared to other oil-producing seeds, nuts, or beans.
Grape seed oil is extracted from grape seeds and has a relatively high smoke point, approximately 420 °F (216 °C), so it can be safely used to cook at high temperatures. Grape seed oil can be used for stir-fries, sautéing and fondue. In addition to its high smoking point, grape seed oil has other positive attributes in relation to cooking. It has a clean, light taste that has been described as 'nutty'. Because of its 'neutral' taste, grape seed oil is often used as an ingredient in salad dressings or as a base for infusing or flavoring with garlic, rosemary, or other herbs or spices. It is also used as an ingredient in homemade mayonnaise. One is able to use less grape seed oil for precisely the same reasons that the cosmetics industry likes it, the emollient and film-forming virtues.
The metabolic energy density of grape seed oil is comparable to that of other oils: about 120 kcal per tablespoon (34 kJ/ml). However, because less oil is needed for cooking, it can be used within a low-fat diet especially when combined with good frying techniques (such as using enough oil, not overcrowding the pan, and having the oil at the correct temperature) which reduces the amount of absorbed oil.
In all products grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues, possessing regenerative and restructuring qualities which allow a better control of skin moisturization. It can help skin retain the normal structure of epithelium cells and nerve cells via supporting the cell membranes. It is noted to be especially effective for repair of the skin around the eyes. Used as an all-over skin moisturizer, grape seed oil is known to reduce the look of stretch marks. A light, thin oil, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over the skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also usable as a lubricant for face shaving.
Current medical information
Grape seed oil is reputed to contain plentiful antioxidants. In a study presented in 1993 at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, Nash and colleagues showed in 56 men and women using up to 1.5 ounces (43 g) per day, an amount that one can cook with, that grape seed oil raised HDL levels by 13% and reduced LDL levels by 7% in three weeks. The total cholesterol/HDL ratio fell 15.6%, and the total LDL/HDL ratio fell 15.3%, which could be significant for those at risk of heart attack.
Vitamins in grape seed oil
|Average composition of Grape Seed Oil fatty acids|
|Common Name||Acid Name||Average Percentage Range|
|Palmitic acid||Hexadecanoic acid||5||to||11%|
|Stearic acid||Octadecanoic acid||3||to||6%|
|Palmitoleic acid||9-Hexadecenoic acid||0.5||to||0.70%|
Some sources claim that grape seed oil is also high in procyanidolic oligomers (also known as oligomeric proanthocyanidins, OPCs or PCOs). However other sources dispute this. Because proanthocyanidins are polar molecules which are insoluble in nonpolar liquids such as oils, grape seed oil is unlikely to contain as much PCO as other grape products like fresh grapes, grape juice or red wine. Some published independent analyses show that grape seed oil typically contains almost no PCO at all . It has been claimed that many distributors of pycnogenol and related products are involved in pyramid schemes . This in no way impacts its possible health benefits.
- Joshi SS, Kuszynski CA, Bagchi D. The cellular and molecular basis of health benefits of grape seed proanthocyanidin extract. Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2001;2(2):187-200.
- Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal. 4th ed. New York: The Haworth Herbal Press; 1999:201-203.