Grapes are little fruits that are filled with sweet juicy flesh and, on a less tasty note, grainy little seeds. Perhaps you sat savoring your grapes, and while attempting to discreetly spit out the seeds, wondered about swallowing those crunchy little tidbits instead. Grape seeds won't harm you, unless you have an allergy to them. Grape seeds may actually offer a number of health benefits when used as an extract or an oil.
Grape Seed Extract
Interest in grape seeds as a source of beneficial nutrients has lead to the production of grape seed extract. This nutritional supplement, available at natural foods retailers, is created by extracting compounds from grape seeds that are a byproduct of wine or juice manufacturing. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a dose of between 25 to 150 milligrams of grapeseed extract taken three times daily is a good source of antioxidants.
Grapeseed oil is created by pressing grape seeds to extract the oils within them. The oil that results is especially good for cooking at high temperatures, due to its high smoke point of 485F, according to the website The Nibble. This high smoke point provides grapeseed oil with health advantages over most other oils when it comes to cooking at high heat. When an oil reaches its smoke point, it degrades in quality and its antioxidants are destroyed. Grapeseed oil is also high in Omega-6 fatty acids and low in saturated fat. It raises blood serum levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol that can help fight heart disease.
Nutrients in Grape Seeds
Grape seeds contain oligomeric proanthrocyanadin complexes, which the University of Maryland Medical Center says are powerful antioxidants, in addition to other nutrients such as vitamin-E, flavonoids and linoleic acids. Flavonoids are believed to lower the risk of heart disease by decreasing your body's concentration of LDL, or "bad" cholesterol. The September 2009 issue of "The Journal of Nutrition" reports that the phytochemicals and antioxidants in grape seeds have the ability to fight cancer and improve your overall health.
Grapeseed extract has not been found to cause any common side effects, according to Drugs.com. If you have an allergic sensitivity to grape seeds, however, you may experience rash, tongue swelling or difficulty breathing. Upon experiencing any of these symptoms as a result of taking grape seeds, you should immediately consult your doctor or visit an emergency room.