Grape seed oil is used for culinary, cosmetic and even medicinal purposes. Light and colorless with sweet and nutty flavor, it is extracted from the seeds of grapes. Grape seed oil is actually a byproduct obtained in the process of wine-making so, naturally, wine producing countries, including Italy, France, Spain and Argentina are the leading manufacturers of grape seed oil. Although they reached the North American soil only in the 1600s, grapes had been valued for their beneficial properties for thousands of years and were used in the treatment of nausea, constipation, cancer, cholera, kidney and liver diseases, eyes and skin. Many health benefits of grapes are confirmed scientifically.
Thanks to the high content of antioxidants, grape seeds protect the human body from the damage caused by free radicals, and they also contain vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and flavonoids. Research has shown that grape seed oil can be used to stabilize blood sugar and control heart problems and cancer. Grape seed oil lowers the risk of heart disease by regulating the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol), and, according to research findings, grape seed extract helps prevent the development of prostate, colon, stomach and lung cancer. Since it inhibits body’s production of histamine, which is produced during an allergic reaction, scientists agree that grape seed oil can relieve the symptoms of allergies and asthma. It also improves vision, blood circulation and mobility of the joints, as claimed by some researchers. Since it has a high smoke point, grape seed oil is safe for cooking, frying and baking. It is used to marinate food, in sauce and mayonnaise preparation and as a salad dressing.
Grape seed oil which is used externally, differs from the one used for culinary purposes. It is widely used in cosmetic industry since skin can easily absorb it thanks to its lightness. Furthermore, grape seed oil is a very powerful moisturizer and is particularly effective if used around the eye area, while other cosmetic uses of it include the role of an emollient, as it helps in softening dry skin and making sore skin less painful. As an astringent, it tones and tightens the skin and is recommended for acne treatment. Like the human cell membrane, grape seed oil contains linoleic acid, which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid, which nourishes and repairs skin. That is why it is often found in creams, lotions, lip balms and hair care products, though it is even an ingredient of sunscreen lotions since it prevents skin damage caused by sun. Grape seed oil is a vital ingredient of everyday diet and skin care, though it is not recommended for persons allergic to grapes, which also goes for other types of grape seed extracts.