Healthy Living

Is Grapeseed Oil Healthy? Possible Health Benefits Revealed

Instead of discarding grapes after taking out the pulp or juice to produce wine, the seeds inside are crushed and oil is then extracted. This leftover liquid is called grapeseed oil. Though it is an expensive commodity, grapeseed oil is available in bountiful supply since winemaking is a massive production. 

There is one controversial health concern regarding the processing of the oil since manufacturers use hexane, a chemical solvent, to increase the speed of production. Hot machines are also used to cut production costs, which leads to the oxidation of the oil that lowers its quality. The effects of hexane, an air pollutant and neurotoxin, in minuscule amounts has not yet been determined. But the possibilities are alarming and the oil should not be consumed in excess.  

Pure grapeseed oil is made with cold-pressing machines. This type of processing of the grape seeds does not require chemical solvents and heating, and retains most of its nutrient, especially the omega-6 fatty acids. 

To preserve the grapeseed oil and prevent it from going stale, keep it in storage space with minimal exposure to heat and sunlight. The health benefits associated with including grapeseed oil in your diet are plenty when added in moderation.

Here are the main ones as listed below:

Very High PUFA Content

Polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) lowers cholesterol, and as a result it improves heart health. The proportion of consumption has to be balanced with omega-3s and saturated fats, so as to avoid the side effects. Though the appropriate ratio is still in question, the oil has zero trans fat and hydrogenated fats. 

Linoleic acid, an important fat, evolves into gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), which is an essential protective agent in the body after its digestion. 

Skin Health and Hair Health

The omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in the oil are needed to maintain skin health. Especially omega-6 because it lowers the inflammation within the skin’s top layers.

Vitamin E, another component of grapeseed oil, helps prevent the spread of free radicals when applied topically on the skin. Some of the other functions of grapeseed oil on the skin is to reduce acne, act as a moisturizer, reduce scars, lighten skin and close pores.  

For maintaining your hair and scalp, using a cosmetic product with grapeseed oil could help. For instance, it can add moisture and remove dead skin. It also adds strength to the hair. Just before shampooing, massage the oil onto the scalp and hair for protection. 

Since the oil is made up of a particular flavonoid known as procyanidin oligomers, also an antioxidant, some studies indicated that it helps reduce baldness by stimulating hair growth, though this needs more research.

Doesn't Oxidize Easily

Polyunsaturated fats (PUFA) are not recommended to be heated and used in cooking food in high temperatures since they combine chemically with oxygen and turn toxic.

With a smoke point of 421 degrees Fahrenheit, grapeseed oil burns at a higher temperature when compared to other oils such as avocado and olive oil. The oil can be used in cooking methods with high temperature such as baking, sautéing and stir-frying. 

Vitamin E

Grapeseed oil surprisingly is doubly loaded with vitamin E when compared to the healthy olive oil. The vitamin is needed to maintain the health of eyes, skin, and immunity. 

Precaution

Grapeseed oil should not be the only source of fat, and should be mixed with either avocado and grass-fed butter to provide the body with a variety of fats. Another reason being that omega-3 is more necessary than omega-6, and the oil contains more of the latter. Excessive omega-6 can lead to inflammation, while omega-3s are more prevalent in diets suggested for health improvement.

Some doctors suggest consuming a ratio of up to 10:1 with the two main types of PUFAs as part of the daily diet. Inflammation leads to several health problems including an imbalance in the thyroid hormones and weight gain. 

Oxidized PUFAs do not break down the free radicals in the body and disrupt the metabolization process by underusing the cholesterol, and can potentially clog the arteries too. Hence, the chemically processed grapeseed oil can increase cholesterol levels. Moderation is advised.  

grape seeds Crushed grape seed extract is processed and manufactured as grapeseed oil. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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