Grape seeds are tiny, but they are packed with highly concentrated nutrients. Grape seeds are perfectly safe for consumption, and eating grape seeds on a regular basis can be a healthy addition to your diet. Grape seeds, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, can even be made into grape seed oil. Omega-3 fats are healthy fats needed for heart and brain health. Grape seeds also contain high levels of vitamin A and E, which are beneficial to the skin.
Nutrients in Grape Seeds
Grape seeds contain polyphenols and vitamins such as vitamin C and D. Polyphenols are a compound rich in antioxidants, which fight free radical damage. Free radical damage is a natural by-product of aging that causes the body to break down faster. A well-known polyphenol found in grape seed is resveratrol, which helps prevent heart disease, cancer and increase your life span, according to a report from the Linus Pauling Institute. Linoleic acid and oligomeric procyanidins, or OPCs, are additional nutrients highly concentrated in grape seeds which help strengthen and protect cells as well as speed up the cell renewal process.
Grape seeds also have high levels of phytoestrogens, plant estrogens that are weaker than estrogen made by the body. These plant hormones help to regulate our own hormonal balance. In addition, phytoestrogens have been linked to a lower incidence of female cancers such as breast and ovarian, according to a review in the December 2006 issue of "Endocrine-Related Cancer."
Preventing Heart Disease
Grape seeds also provide protection against heart disease. The antioxidants found in the seeds and grapes strengthen and protect blood vessels. When blood vessels become damaged as a person ages, a heart attack is more likely to happen. According the University of Maryland Medical Center, grape seeds are also shown to reduce blood pressure.
Grape Seed Taste
Grape seeds have a light bitter taste. These seeds can be swallowed whole or ground into a powder. The powder can be used for medicinal uses in order to boost the immune system. For instance, you can add the grape seed powder to a protein shake or soup broth. Red grape seeds tend to have a much stronger taste.
Warnings and Precautions
As with any herb, grape seeds have the potential to cause side effects such as nausea, upset stomach, headache, cough, sore throat, rash and itching, according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Grape seeds may also enhance the effects of blood thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin, which can increase your risk of bleeding. They may also reduce the effectiveness of Phenacetin, a pain reliever and fever reducer. If you are being treated for any medical condition, speak to your doctor before consuming grape seeds.