Grape seed extract is a product derived from the seeds of whole grapes. Occasionally, the skin of the fruit is also included in the extraction. Grape seed extract is a popular herbal product that is also one of the best sources of antioxidants around. When consumed as a drink or a supplement, grape seed extract can benefit your health significantly. Here’s the inside scoop on grape seed extract:
High Concentration of Antioxidants
Grape seed extract is a rich source of antioxidants, particularly oligomeric proanthocyanidins, or OPCs. OPCs are considered to be more powerful and effective than more common antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E or beta carotene. Even though these antioxidants are beneficial to the health, they are not as effective as OPCs when it comes to fighting free radicals. Another drawback of ordinary antioxidants is that they are eliminated from the body shortly after ingestion. The OPCs found in grape seed extract can remain in your system for as long as three days.
The French Paradox
The interest in grape seed extract as a health product is largely inspired by what is known as the “French paradox.” Basically, the paradox refers to the fact that the French enjoy a regular diet that is quite rich in saturated fats. However, despite their less-than-healthy staple diet, the French also have very low rates when it comes to heart disease. Health experts and researchers believe that the low incidence of heart disease in the French could be due to the fact that they also drink large amounts of red wine. The OPCs and other antioxidants present in the wine provide cardiovascular protection. Since grape seed extract has a higher concentrate of OPCs than red wine, some researchers believe that it can improve cardiovascular health.
Relief from Edema
If you are currently experiencing swelling because of an injury or a medical surgery, grape seed extract can speed up the recovery rate. This swelling is commonly known as edema. Edema is particularly common in breast cancer patients who have undergone surgery. If you’ve recently undergone breast cancer surgery, consuming grape seed extract can reduce your pain and swelling.
Grape seed extract contains high amounts of a phenol called procyanidin. Procyanidin is believed to have anti-aging benefits. This might be due to the fact that it is able to boost collagen production in the skin. Collagen is the protein responsible for the elasticity of the skin. As you age, the collagen bonds in your skin break down. As a result, the skin becomes less able to repair itself and becomes wrinkled and dull in appearance. Since procyanidin promotes collagen production, your skin is able to remain elastic and supple. Phenol is also able to provide the skin protection from sun damage.
Cancer prevention is one of the known health benefits of grape seed extract. This is caused by the high amounts of reservatrol found in grapes. Reservatrol stops the formation and spread of cancerous cells.