There are quite a few important health benefits of grape seed oil including its ability to lower inflammation, protect the heart, boost the immune system, prevent cancer, stimulate cognitive activity, shield the skin, rejuvenate the hair, prevent chronic disease, eliminate dandruff and balance blood sugar levels, among others. There are a limited number of potential side effects, such as headaches, nausea, dizziness and high blood pressure, as well as allergic reactions and complications with certain medications or medical conditions. That being said, when using this oil responsibly, and when appropriate, can deliver a number of excellent benefits for overall health.
Grape seed oil is a potent edible oil that is extracted from the seeds of grapes, as the name implies, and is therefore widely available in wine-producing regions that is also exported around the world. This oil has received a lot of attention in recent years due to its high levels of polyunsaturated fats and its versatility in both culinary applications and natural medicine practices. With a relatively low smoke point, it is often used as a salad dressing, rather than a cooking oil, to ensure that all of the nutrients are retained in the oil. As with many healthier cooking oils, grape seed oil is a rich source of “good” fatty acids, namely linoleic, oleic and linolenic acids, as well as stearic, palmitic and palmitoleic acids. Many of these substances are anti-inflammatory, stimulating and antioxidant in nature, which gives this oil some of its impressive powers over human health. There are also significant levels of vitamin E, sterols, and steroids, further boosting the health potential of this oil.
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Benefits of Grape Seed Oil
Many people turn to grape seed oil when they are struggling with arthritis, inflammatory conditions, dandruff, diabetes, eczema, dementia, Alzheimer’s, split ends, a weak immune system and high blood pressure, as well as those at high risk for cancer and chronic disease.
Grape seed oil affects the skin in a number of ways, thanks to its emollient, astringent, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Applying this oil to your skin, often combined with a carrier oil, can help lock in moisture and keep your skin looking fresh and supply. Furthermore, the astringent nature will tighten your skin, minimizing the appearance of wrinkles and increasing elasticity. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant aspects will help eliminate symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, rosacea and even allergic reactions and rashes, while simultaneously stimulating the growth of new cells and protect the skin from infections.
The high levels of vitamin E and fatty acids in grape seed oil make it an excellent moisturizer for the hair, while also decreasing frizziness and promoting a moisturized scalp. This will help to eliminate split ends and dandruff, while also strengthening the hair at the root, in the follicle, and preventing hair loss.
A number of studies have linked the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of polyunsaturated fats to a reduction in plaque deposition and inflammation in neural pathways and capillaries that feed the brain. This can slow or prevent the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s, while also boosting memory, concentration and cognitive dexterity.
For those worried about their long-term heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol are often the major concerns. Fortunately, using grape seed oil as an alternative to other vegetable oils – especially canola oil – can help boost your cardiovascular health in a major way. The polyunsaturated fats in grape seed oil will help to balance your cholesterol levels and reduce plaque buildup in the arteries. This oil is also linked to decreasing hypertension, which further lowers your risk of heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis.
Many people suffer from the pain and discomfort of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, but numerous studies have connected the compounds in grape seed oil to a decrease in swelling, inflamed tissue, and allergic responses. This will reduce strain on your immune system and ease the pain of the joints and muscles.
The broad range of fatty acids found in this oil, combined with various antioxidant vitamins and active compounds, can work as an effective antioxidant shield for the body’s systems and cells. Free radicals are able to attack healthy cells and cause them to mutate, often into cancerous growths. Powerful antioxidants, like those found in this alternative vegetable oil, can neutralize these free radicals and prevent tumor growth. Individual studies have shown this oil can have a positive effect on colon, prostate, breast and lung cancer!
Research has shown that linoleic acid, which makes up roughly 70% of the fatty acids in grape seed oil, is able to increase insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism in the body, which is excellent news for anyone suffering from diabetes, or is at high risk for that disease. Regular use of this oil can help stop the spikes in blood sugar that can be so dangerous for diabetics.
Side Effects of Grape Seed Oil
Some of the most common side effects of grape seed oil are mild indigestion and nausea, blood pressure fluctuation, or some scalp irritation. Furthermore, there can be complications with your medications, given how potent and effective this oil is for certain health conditions. Regular use of grape seed oil is believed to be safe, but taking large, medicinal quantities for more than a few months can result in more notable side effects.
- Drug Interactions – The wide range of effects of grape seed oil include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as stimulating circulation by decreasing blood clotting. While these can independently be great for heart health, these effects can be complicated by blood pressure medication, cholesterol-lowering drugs, and other anticoagulants such as warfarin. If you are on other medications for cardiovascular issues, speak with your doctor before adding this oil to your health regimen.
- Gastrointestinal Response – Some people experience mild nausea and indigestion when consuming grape seed oil, but these feelings should pass. If they worsen or regularly occur each time you use grape seed oil, discontinue use and speak with a doctor or herbalist about another alternative oil you could use.
- Dry Skin – Many people use this oil to control dandruff but depending on the sensitivity of your skin, it could actually cause additional dryness, particularly on the scalp. Apply a small amount of this oil on a patch of skin, or on your scalp, and wait 5-6 hours to see how your skin reacts before using it on a larger area.
- Headaches/Dizziness – Another mild side effect can be headaches and dizziness, often coupled with fluctuating blood pressure. If these symptoms worsen, stop using grape seed oil immediately.