The benefits and dangers of grape seed oil

While we were on a holiday in Canada, I tried some grape seed oil with my dinner. It was light, rather tasteless, and less “oily” than olive oil. Back home I saw it in the Whole Foods store and bought a bottle to try.

I looked up grape seed oil on the Internet and, at the first glance, it has a lot of benefits for our bodies and general health. Apparently, it possesses a very strong antioxidant that can protect us from diseases and aging. It can lower the level of bad cholesterol and increase the amount of good cholesterol in our blood which is a big deal because this way we may reduce the risk of coronary diseases. It also can repair and strengthen broken or damaged capillaries and blood vessels. This can help with such conditions as varicose and spider veins or hemorrhoids. Grape seed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation and swelling, especially after operation or injury.

Well, more I was researching more I was thinking that grape seed oil was too good to be true. Such a powerful substance for such a low price! Grape seed oil is a byproduct of wine making. For many years grape seeds were discarded. However, now we learned how to efficiently extract oil from these seeds. And here is the catch – the process used to extract the oil from the seeds involves high temperatures and many chemicals, including a solvent hexane. I looked up “hexane” on Wikipedia and got scared – it is a part of gasoline, it is used in glues for shoes, and it is toxic for humans.

I continued my research on line and found great articles about grape seed oil. Here is the gist. Most of the nutrients and antioxidants that are supposed to be so good to our health and to heal us from different diseases and that are present in the seeds disappear after the processing and are absent in the oil.

The only important nutrient left is Vitamin E. Yet, if you count calories, grape seed oil is not the best source of Vitamin E – you’ll get too much fat together with your vitamin.

The fact that it is low in cholesterol and saturated fat doesn’t make it a better dietary product. Recently, it has been proved that there are no direct links between saturated fat and cholesterol in the diet and a risk of cardiovascular disease.

The claim that grape seed oil is high in polyunsaturated fats is also misleading. As I found out, there two types of polyunsaturated fats – Omega-3s and Omega-6s. Ideally, a human body needs to get both of them in balance for optimal health since they are not synthesized in the human body and are mostly obtained from the diet. Yet, we all end up eating too many Omega-6s which is harmful for our health. And these are the fatty acids that you’ll mostly find in the grape seed oil.

Discouraging, right?

Is there any way I can use my bottle of grape seed oil that I already bought and paid for or I should just get rid of it as soon as possible before I get poisoned or fat?

As a matter of fact, there are some harmless ways to use this oil to great benefits. It has been used in cosmetics – to treat acne, relieve dark circles under eyes, tighten and moisturize skin. Plus, it is extremely beneficial for hair, because it restores its natural gloss and helps with dry scalp (attention, if you have dry scalp because of eczema or other skin diseases grape seed oil probably won't help!). Some people even use it as a heat protectant for hair. It is inexpensive, odorless and fairly light, so it is worth a try.

How to use it?

  1. Apply it to your damp hair after washing.
  2. Mix with your current hair moisturizer to increase the moisturizing effect.
  3. Massage it into your scalp if it is dry.
  4. Massage it into your body or use it during massage sessions. It helps not only to moisturize skin but to heal scars as well.
  5. Massage it under your eyes or your whole face. Grape seed oil can work not only for the under-eye circles but also for fine lines. You’ll start seeing results in a week or so.
  6. Mix it with your current face moisturizer to increase the moisturizing effect.

So from now on this is how I am going to use grape seed oil. Have you ever used it and how did it work for you?

References

  1. Yilmaz, Y.; Toledo, R.T. (February 2006). "Oxygen radical absorbance capacities of grape/wine industry byproducts and effect of solvent type on extraction of grape seed polyphenols". Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889157505000293
  2. Moret, S.; Dudine, A.; Conte, L.S. (2000). "Processing effects on the polyaromatic hydrocarbon content of grapeseed oil" (PDF). Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11746 000 0203 5
  3. Siri-Tarino, P.W; Sun, Qi; Hu, F.B.; Krauss, R.M. (2009) “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract
  4. Nakamura, Y; Tsuji S; Tonogai Y (2003). "Analysis of proanthocyanidins in grape seed extracts, health foods and grape seed oils". Journal of Health Science. Retreived from https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jhs/49/1/49_1_45/_article
  5. Grape seed. University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/grape seed
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