Grapes are a round, sweet berry found in clusters from the flowering plant, Vitis. There are three different categories of grapes. Table grapes are those commonly eaten in fruit salads, for a snack, or are used in a recipe. Raisin are dried grapes that can be eaten raw or used in baking. Wine grapes are smaller, sweeter grapes used in viniculture to make wine.
The nutrients found in large amounts in grapes include vitamin K, vitamin B2, and copper. Grapes are a good fruit for individuals with diabetes because they are considered a low glycemic index (GI) food, meaning that grapes do not cause a fast upsurge of blood glucose levels. The darker the color of the grape, the more concentrated are the phytochemicals. Phytochemicals are naturally occurring compounds found in plants that are known for their protective properties. Additionally, red grapes have more quercetin, a phytochemical known for its antioxidant properties (1).
GRAPE SEED OIL
There is now an increased desire to replace animal fats with vegetable oils. Research scientists are creating new oils by extracting oils from all different sources. Grape seed oil was created as a byproduct of wine. When wine is produced, the seeds, peels, and stems are removed. Food scientist utilized grape seeds from the wine production to create grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is cold pressed from the seeds of grapes. Cold pressing oil is used because it is the best way to create an oil without a significant loss of beneficial health factors such as such as phytochemicals and antioxidants (2).
One table spoon of grape seed oil contains 120 calories.
GRAPE SEED OIL AND HEALTH
The main component of grape seed oil is linoleic acid, an omega 6 fatty acid. Omega 6 fatty acids are essential nutrients, meaning that the body cannot produce omega 6’s on its own, and these fatty acids must be consumed through food. Along with omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids play a role in growth, development, and brain function. Because grape seed oil is high in linoleic acid content, according to researchers, it is good for cardiovascular health.
Another main constituent of grape seed oil is its rich source of antioxidant acting bioactive compounds such as phytosterols, phenolics, and vitamin E. All of these components work together to give grape seed oil high antioxidant potential. Phytosterols decrease cholesterol levels. However, of more significance are the tocotrienols, a form of vitamin E. Tocotrienols are the major antioxidant component found in grape seed oil. Grape seed oil has 2X as much vitamin E compared to olive oil. It contains 9mg of vitamin E in one tablespoon! Tocotrienols have anti- inflammatory attributes and neutralize free radical production.
Researchers found that 45 grams grape seed oil per day increases the good, HDL cholesterol and decreases the bad, LDL cholesterol (4).
Ways to Use Grape Seed Oil
- Salad dressing. Grape seed oil has a light, neutral taste that makes it great to be used in salad dressings.
- Stir frying. Use grape seed oil in stir frying to create healthier meals.
- Roasting. Drizzle grape seed oil on some vegetables for roasting. Great vegetables to use include sweet potatoes, asparagus, broccoli, and onions!
Grape Seed Oil and Spray Drying
Spray dried grape seed oil turns the hydrophobic liquid into a powder. This can then be used in many different food applications to increase the polyunsaturated fatty acid composition.
Overall grape seed oil is a functional food that can promote health due to its high linoleic acid, vitamin E, and phytochemical composition.
1. Kirschmann, J. D. (2007). Nutrition almanac (6th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
2. Shinagawa, F. B., Santana, F. C. de, Torres, L. R. O., Mancini-Filho, J., Shinagawa, F. B., Santana, F. C. de, … Mancini-Filho, J. (2015). Grape seed oil: a potential functional food? Food Science and Technology (Campinas), 35(3), 399–406. https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-457X.6826
3. Kim, D. J., Jeon, G., Sung, J., Oh, S. K., Hong, H. C., & Lee, J. (2010). Effect of grape seed oil supplementation on plasma lipid profile in rats. Food Science and Biotechnology, 19(1), 249-252.
4. Nash, D. T. (2004). Cardiovascular risk beyond LDL-C levels. Other lipids are performers in cholesterol story. Postgraduate Medicine, 116(3), 11-15. PMid:15460086