The next time you bite into a bunch of sun-ripe, sweet grapes, spare a thought for those pesky seeds that you casually spit out. Once considered a waste product of wineries and grape juice factories, these are in the spotlight today. The healthcare, food, and cosmetics industries have all found an array of uses for the oil extracted from these tiny seeds.
How Is Grapeseed Oil Extracted?
Grapeseed oil is extracted either by cold pressing or by using an organic solvent. Cold pressing does not involve any chemical or heat treatment, making the extracted oil far more healthy. The oil yield varies depending on the extraction technique, the solvent, the operating conditions, the variety of cultivars, and the environmental factors that affected the harvest.1
Health Constituents Of Grapeseed Oil
Grapeseed oil contains several compounds proven to have health benefits.
- Grapeseed oil is rich in phenolic compounds with antioxidant, anticancer, and antimicrobial properties. In fact, grapeseed oil is being studied as an efficient carrier of cancer drugs. In other studies, grapeseed oil has been found to inhibit two pesky bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
- Its high vitamin E content offers antioxidant, neuroprotective, and antitumoral properties. The vitamin E content of grapeseed oil is higher than that in olive oil. Consequently, grapeseed oil can be used to prevent some chronic diseases and to slow down the aging process. Both vitamin E and polyphenols also promote wound healing.
- It has unsaturated fatty acids linoleic (PUFA) and oleic acid (MUFA), both of which play a role in promoting health.
- Phytosterols in grapeseed oil have anti-inflammatory properties.
Does that mean consuming grapeseed oil will protect against heart disease, cancer, and bacterial infections? Too early to say definitively, according to research. But given that grapeseed oil is undoubtedly loaded with so many healthful compounds, it has found its way into many kitchens and homes like several other plant-based or natural products. Alternative medicine practitioners too recommend incorporating it into the daily diet for its anti-inflammatory properties.2
Grapeseed Oil For Cooking
Although cooking with grapeseed oil is not as widespread a practice as with olive oil, many chefs favor grapeseed oil for the delicate, nutty flavor it imparts to food. This “gourmet oil” is versatile, and its high smoke point allows it to be used for baking, sautéing, and medium-high heat frying. It also works well as a marinade.3
Grapeseed oil is mostly recommended for use as a base for salad dressings. It can even be infused with rosemary, garlic, and spices for flavoring.4
The bottom line: if you’re curious and enjoy experimenting with new foods, give grapeseed oil a try, taking care to use small quantities to see if it suits you and your family.
Grapeseed Oil Intake: Risks To Consider
There are, however, some factors to consider. As with any other food, too much of a good thing can be a problem and that can happen with grapeseed oil too. Omega-6 fatty acids contained in linoleic acid, if consumed in large quantities, are thought to be inflammatory in nature and could contribute to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.5. So if your overall dietary intake of omega-6 fatty acids from vegetable oils is already high, or you have a heart condition, be wary of using grapeseed oil for cooking. Ideally, seek professional advice from your physician or dietician so you get the balance right.
Contamination of grapeseed oil during the drying cycle of the chemical manufacturing process is another health risk. The drying process, which involves direct contact with combustion gases, can leave the oil with dangerous levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Research has connected high exposure to PAHs with cardiovascular disease, cancer, and poor fetal development. Also, the pomace left after pressing is often compacted with bulldozers to reduce volume and that could contribute to the high contamination level in the raw material. Of course, it is impossible for a consumer to know this while purchasing a bottle of grapeseed oil.6 So choose wisely, looking out for organic, cold-pressed grapeseed oil. In the US, genuine organic grapeseed oil should be certified so by the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Benefits Of Grapeseed Oil: For Your Skin And Hair
Science and industry have come up with many resourceful ways to tap the goodness of grapeseed oil. Research has identified that it can be topically applied to get relief from several health conditions. Some of its uses are as sunburn repair lotion, hand cream, lip balm, massage oil, and hair products.7
Grapeseed Oil For Skincare
Grapeseed oil has large amounts of linoleic acid, which is considered to be a stronger antioxidant than vitamins C and E. Linoleic acid makes grapeseed oil effective against dermatitis, acne, and eczema. It also works as a light carrier oil and is easily absorbed by the skin. These properties make grapeseed oil popular in massage therapy, aromatherapy, and cosmetic manufacturing.8
Moisturize, Protect From Sun Damage, And Reduce Age Lines
Antioxidants in grapeseed oil help protect the skin from sun damage and dryness. Along with vitamin E, they may also delay the aging process by keeping the skin moisturized against fine wrinkles and lines.9
How to use: Here’s a simple recipe for a moisturizer that can help treat dermatitis and other dry skin conditions. Take 1/4 cup of grapeseed oil and add 10–20 drops of tea tree oil. You could also add 10 drops each of jojoba oil or carrot oil. Shake well and massage into skin to moisturize.10
Reduce Skin Scars And Under-Eye Circles
Grapeseed oil has been used along with other plant-based compounds in creams, lotions, and gels to moisturize and reduce scars and under-eye circles.11
How to use: For under-eye dark circles, mix 5 drops of grapeseed oil and 1 drop of sweet orange. Apply the mix to the affected areas once a day.
You can also put together a healing salve for cuts and bruises with grapeseed oil. On low heat, melt 1/4 cup each of grapeseed oil and coconut oil with 3 tablespoons of beeswax. Remove from heat and add 1/2 teaspoon of vitamin E oil, 10 drops of tea tree essential oil, 8 drops of lavender essential oil, and 5 drops of lemon essential oil. Store in a suitable container and use when required.12
Grapeseed oil can double up as a gentle makeup remover. The advantage of grapeseed oil is that it is extremely light and does not clog skin pores, so there is no fear of acne.13
How to use: Just soak a cotton ball in grapeseed oil and use to wipe off mascara and eyeshadow.
Good For A Massage Too!
The lightness of grapeseed oil makes it ideal as a carrier oil base with which other essential oils may be blended.
How to use: Here’s a simple recipe for a fragrant, relaxing and skin nourishing massage oil. Take 4 tablespoons of grapeseed oil and 4 drops each of lavender, niaouli, and rosemary essential oil. Blend these oils together and massage into the skin. Get dressed once the oil is absorbed into the skin.14
Grapeseed Oil For Lustrous Hair
With such excellent skin benefits to its credit, can grapeseed oil also contribute to a healthy head of hair? Can it cure dandruff and perhaps boost hair growth?
Moisturize And Condition Hair
Weather conditions, sun damage, and harsh cleansers can all affect hair health. The emollient or oily properties of natural oils such as grapeseed oil can cleanse and condition hair gently.
The high level of fats grapeseed oil contains are good for moisturizing a dry scalp and hair. Aside from its regenerative abilities, the oil can help your scalp retain moisture needed to prevent hair from drying out.ref]Nerantzis, Elias T., and Panagiotis Tataridis. “Integrated enology-utilization of winery by-products into high added value products.” J. Sci. Tech 1 (2006): 79-89.[/ref] It also works well as a carrier oil for other oil blends.
How to use: You can use grapeseed oil blended with other hair oils of your choice. You could also try a hot oil treatment. Blend 4 to 6 tablespoons of grapeseed oil with a tablespoon or two of essential oils such as lavender and tea tree oil to nourish and cleanse your hair.
Get Rid Of Dandruff
The lightweight quality of grapeseed oil and its conditioning agents (fatty acids and vitamin E) can help to keep the scalp well-moisturized and therefore free of dandruff.15
How to use: Make a natural antifungal hair mask to soothe a dry scalp and exfoliate flakes. Mix 120 ml grapeseed oil with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and 2 tablespoons cornmeal. Rinse your hair with warm water. Now, take a tablespoon of the oil mixture, warm it a little between your palms, and apply to your scalp. Rub it in well until you use the mixture to cover the entire scalp. Cover your hair with a warm towel for about 30 minutes and then wash off with a shampoo as usual.16
|↑1, ↑9||Garavaglia, Juliano, Melissa M. Markoski, Aline Oliveira, and Aline Marcadenti. “Grape Seed Oil Compounds: Biological and Chemical Actions for Health.” Nutrition and Metabolic Insights 9 (2016): 59.|
|↑2||Mullin, Gerard E. “Popular diets prescribed by alternative practitioners—Part 2.” Nutrition in Clinical Practice 25, no. 3 (2010): 308-309.|
|↑3||Lampi, Anna-Maija, and Marina Heinonen. “Gourmet and Health-Promoting Specialty Oils”. Elsevier, 2015.|
|↑4||Orey, Cal. “The Healing Powers of Olive Oil: A Complete Guide To Nature’s Liquid Gold”. Kensington Books, 2014.|
|↑5||Essential Fatty Acids.. Linus Pauling Institute.|
|↑6||Moret, Sabrina, A. Dudine, and L. S. Conte. “Processing effects on the polyaromatic hydrocarbon content of grapeseed oil.” Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society 77, no. 12 (2000): 1289-1292.|
|↑7, ↑8, ↑11||Spiers, Samantha M., and Frederick T. Cleaves. “Topical treatment of the skin with a grapeseed oil composition.” U.S. Patent 5,916,573, issued June 29, 1999.|
|↑10||Olsen, Cynthia B. “Australian Tea Tree Oil First Aid Handbook: 101 Plus Ways to Use Tea Tree Oil.” Lotus Press, 1999.|
|↑12||Alink, Merissa A. “Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life.” Simon and Schuster, 2015.|
|↑13||Venturi, Marco, and Tara Venturi-Jackson. “Therapeutic blended oil composition and method.” U.S. Patent Application 11/346,033, filed February 2, 2006.|
|↑14||Curtis, Susan, Pat Thomas, and Fran Johnson. Neal’s Yard Remedies Essential Oils. Dorling Kindersley, 2016.|
|↑15||Shital, Gite S., Jadhav J. Aishwarya, Zalte G. Amar, and Saudagar B. Ravindra. “A Review on Oils used in Herbal Cosmetics.” Research Journal of Topical and Cosmetic Sciences 4, no. 2 (2013): 61.|
|↑16||Fischer, Karen. “The Healthy Skin Diet: Your complete guide to beautiful skin in just 8 weeks!” Pan Macmillan, 2011.|