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Oil from grape seeds is healthy and versatile
Grape seed oil has a long tradition and was already an effective home remedy in the Middle Ages, for example to treat minor cuts or skin problems. Today it is one of the finest and most expensive vegetable oils that are commercially available and is used in a variety of ways. In addition to the possibilities of external use, grape seed oil is often used as an anti-aging product in cosmetics, for example, and it is also ideal for preparing cold and warm dishes. This makes the increasingly popular oil a real multi-talent and offers a good alternative to olive, walnut or sunflower oil in many areas.
Production and effects of grape seed oil
Grape seed oil - as the name suggests - is obtained from the seeds of green grapes. It is one of the finest and most expensive oils available on the market. The reason for this is that the small, hard kernels contain little oil, so that about 2,000 kg of grapes are needed to produce one liter. Like other vegetable oils, grape seed oil can be made by both hot and cold pressing. In the first case, it is a traditional chemical process for which significantly fewer cores are required compared to cold pressing. These are first strongly heated and pressed out, then in the course of the so-called “extraction” with the help of chemical solvents (mostly hexane), even the smallest oil residues are removed from the seeds.
However, since the oil changes color and taste as a result of this process, it must be cleaned or refined in a complex, multi-stage procedure after pressing - this is why it is often also declared to be “refined”. In this form of production, the oil can be pressed out of the cores much more easily due to the intense heat, which is why less effort is required and production is comparatively inexpensive. Accordingly, this variant can also be offered relatively inexpensively in the trade. However, it is disadvantageous that the heat reduces the proportion of valuable ingredients such as vitamins and unsaturated fatty acids, because these are the decisive factors for the positive effects of the oil on health.
In cold pressing, however, the cores are mechanically pressed out gently and without the addition of heat. In most cases, the oil obtained is then only filtered and dried, which removes the remaining naturally occurring water. Since there is no heat on the cores, the oil yield is significantly lower here. In the end, however, it is much more aromatic and richer in valuable ingredients than the hot-pressed one. Of course, quality also has its price, so cold-pressed grape seed oil of good quality with 15 to 20 euros for half a liter is also significantly more expensive than the products from hot pressing.
Grape seed oil has a shelf life of up to one year, although care should be taken to keep it as dark as possible. Especially cold-pressed oil should be protected from too much light and oxygen, otherwise it will quickly get a rancid taste and become inedible. Accordingly, the oil should be kept in a cool place (e.g. in the basement) in an airtight, opaque container or bottle made of dark glass.
Tips for use in the kitchen: delicious recipes with grape seed oil
Regardless of the type of extraction, grape seed oil can of course also be used excellently in the kitchen. Whether for gentle cooking, marinating or as a salad dressing - the delicious oil can be used in many ways and is now a welcome alternative to olive or rapeseed oil for many hobby kitchens. Cold-pressed grape seed oil has a light green color and is somewhat nutty in taste , whereby the grape can usually still be tasted. Because of these properties, it fits ideally in the cold kitchen, where it can be used for salads, dips, sauces or in place of olive oil for pickled vegetables. For example, a mixed raw vegetable salad made from vegetables such as kohlrabi, carrots, fennel bulbs, radishes and beetroot has a particularly delicate taste when mixed with grape seed oil.
For the dressing, three tablespoons of the oil are mixed with a tablespoon of lemon juice, four tablespoons of buttermilk, a pinch of sugar, a finely chopped shallot and half a bunch of chopped (smooth) parsley. If you like, you can add half a teaspoon of thyme and season the salad sauce with a little salt and pepper if necessary.
The cold-pressed vegetable oil is also ideal for pickling and marinating meat or fish. For example, fresh salmon fillet in grape seed oil marinade can be a very tasty starter. For this, about 250 grams of very fresh fillet (for two people) are first washed, carefully patted dry and cut into fine slices. Then the ends of an untreated lemon are cut off and six thin slices are cut off, the remaining fruit is squeezed out. With three slices of lemon, line a small dessert glass, stir the juice with about half a teaspoon of honey and a tablespoon of grape seed oil. Now the fish slices are carefully turned in the marinade, seasoned with sea salt and sprinkled with a few dill tips. Finally, layer the marinated slices carefully and loosely in the glasses and let the whole thing soak in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Before serving, add some freshly ground pepper, it also looks nice when the salmon jars are decorated with the "lids" of the lemon.
It also tastes great when fresh cheese is drizzled with the oil or used to refine yoghurt and quark dishes or ice cream. There is also a very special touch of fresh fruit such as bananas, pineapples or strawberries and homemade smoothies. In addition to being used in cold kitchens, the oil can also be used for roasting, cooking and grilling, regardless of its production method, because both variants can be heated very high and have a smoke point of around 200 degrees. This shows the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke - which should never be achieved, since harmful substances such as acrolein are produced.
Cold-pressed grape seed oil is relatively expensive and is therefore not very popular with many amateur chefs. Others, on the other hand, consciously opt for the noble vegetable oil when preparing hot dishes in order to give them a fruity, mild, nutty taste. For example, it is particularly popular for frying fish or meat. It also lends itself to vegetables and the frying of sweets such as pancakes or crepes, to present them a little differently than usual. However, it should be noted that many of the valuable ingredients are destroyed by high temperatures, so it should always be fried or boiled gently with native oil.
Refined grape seed oil, on the other hand, is the milder version in the warm kitchen, because it is odorless and tasteless due to the hot pressing and has a transparent color. Since the amount of oil obtained in this process is much higher than in cold pressing, the refined oil is also comparatively cheap.
Grape seed oil: health benefits
Grape seed oil has many positive effects on health. The high content of vitamin E, for example, protects cells and tissues from destruction by so-called “free radicals”, which are a natural waste product of the metabolism and in inflammatory diseases. If there is an excess of radicals in the long term, this can lead to serious damage to health, for example, blood fats are deposited in the vessel wall and increase the risk of arterial calcification. The regular intake of vitamin E can accordingly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. In addition, the vitamin E in grape seed oil can prevent a number of other diseases such as cataracts, age-related macular degeneration, rheumatic diseases or premature aging of the nerve and brain cells. In addition, the vitamin is known to have a positive effect on the immune system and to stop inflammatory processes, which can minimize joint problems and restricted movement.
In addition to this, the oil contains a lot of so-called “unsaturated” fatty acids, the proportion of the particularly valuable linoleic acid being remarkable. The cold-pressed oil contains up to 70 percent of the di-unsaturated fatty acid, refined grape oil still has up to 10 percent. Linoleic acid is one of the omega-6 fatty acids and is “essential”, which means that it cannot be produced by the body itself, but must be ingested in sufficient quantities through food. It is particularly beneficial for health because it regulates the skin's water balance, strengthens the immune system and helps with rheumatic diseases. In addition, omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid have a positive impact on cholesterol levels. Accordingly, grape seed oil is also very suitable as a home remedy for lowering cholesterol and can thus help to prevent cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack or stroke.
Cosmetics: Natural skin care with grape seed oil
Due to the many valuable ingredients, the oil is also used in a variety of ways in the field of cosmetics. It has proven itself especially for the care of dry skin, because it smoothes and refines the complexion, makes small cracks and brittle areas disappear and promotes wound healing in the event of minor injuries. In addition, from the point of view of many cosmetic experts, the oil is ideally suited as a home remedy for wrinkles due to its high vitamin E content. This is because the vitamin is supposed to keep the skin young for longer by ensuring that it remains firm and elastic and that wrinkles are reduced. The popular anti-aging agent also contains vitamin K, omega 6 and lecithin, which also have a skin-smoothing and invigorating effect and thereby promote a fresh, healthy complexion.
Many users rely on pure grape seed oil for facial care or combine it with a liquid day or night cream, for example. The advantage is that it is equally suitable for dry, oily and combination skin, as it has a light texture and is quickly absorbed, does not clog the pores and regulates the skin's fat balance. Many other oils such as coconut oil, on the other hand, are not suitable for sensitive or oily skin because they are relatively heavy and quickly clog the pores. Since grape seed oil also cares for stressed skin and can counter inflammation, it has also proven itself as a home remedy for pimples and impurities. Men also like to use the oil as a care product after shaving, for example, to treat minor injuries, soothe the affected skin and prevent skin burning and itching. Due to these healing properties, grape seed oil is often used to treat neurodermatitis or eczema.
If the skin is very dry, it can also be mixed with other moisturizers such as avocado oil. In this case it is also advisable to enrich a nourishing moisturizing mask with a few drops of the cold-pressed oil. Cold-pressed oil can also be used wonderfully for personal hygiene. However, since this is relatively expensive, it can be mixed with another, cheaper oil (e.g. almond or jojoba oil). Finished care oil mixtures can also be combined with a few drops of grape seed oil. A mixing ratio of around one to ten has proven itself in order to obtain a product of high quality at a relatively low price. The valuable product made from grapes can also be used for a bath, massages or a body peeling. For example, simply mix a handful of sea salt with a little oil, apply the mass to damp skin in the shower and leave it on for a few minutes.
In addition to the pure oil, various care products with grape seed extract are also commercially available. This is characterized by a particularly high proportion of so-called “oligomeric proanthocyanidins” (short: OPC), which are substances that occur naturally in plants and belong to the group of flavanols. OPC are considered to be one of the strongest known antioxidants, the effects of which are many times higher than those of vitamin C or vitamin E. OPCs have a variety of positive effects on health, inter alia, by acting on the cardiovascular system, improving blood circulation and ensuring the protection and elasticity of the vessels. In addition, the plant substances are considered an effective anti-aging agent, since they protect our skin from the harmful effects of free radicals and thus prevent skin aging.
Grape seed oil for the hair
The oil from grapes is also very suitable for hair care. Because it contains many nutrients that have a positive effect on the hair structure and is at the same time significantly less difficult than other oils. It absorbs comparatively well and can be easily washed out, and there is no risk (as with olive oil, for example) that the hair will become darker as a result of the application. Due to the high proportion of valuable linoleic acid, cold-pressed oil can be used wonderfully against dry, brittle hair. In addition to this, the vitamin E contained also ensures healthy and beautiful hair by keeping it strong and supple and supporting growth.
A nourishing hair treatment is very easy to produce by mixing good, cold-pressed grape seed oil with another oil (for example from olive, sesame or avocado) in a ratio of three to one. Then the mixture is slightly warmed in the microwave and carefully massaged into the damaged hair lengths and tips. The cure should remain in the hair for at least three hours (or overnight), after which the oil is washed out thoroughly. Alternatively, as with skin and face care, finished hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners or treatments can be refined with a few drops of grape seed oil. (No)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- Gabriela Nedoma: Green cosmetics: organic care from the kitchen and garden, Freya; Edition: 2 (June 6, 2013)
- Winfried Heinen: Power from the Grape Seed, Sand (January 1, 2003)
- Susanne Rihs, Stefan Stecher: KERN-Gesundes OPC - SUPERFOOD grape seed oil: life energy, resistance, younger appearance and much more through the power of the grapes and the seed, books on demand; Edition: 2 (February 19, 2019)