Grapes are full of medicinal and nutritional value, and have been used in wine form for the last 6,000 years or so. Not only the grape fruit, even the leaves and vines are full of powerful antibacterial properties, which were used by the Europeans as an ointment to cure skin and eye diseases. Grape seed extract is a food supplement extracted from the seeds and skin of red grapes. The extract contains Vitamin E, flavonoids, linoleic acid, and compounds called procyanidins also known as the concentrated source of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC).
Antioxidant Properties: The wine is what keeps many people healthy―a glassful a day is now considered as a health supplement by many doctors. The antioxidants found in the extract, proanthocyanidins, is nearly twenty to fifty times more powerful than vitamin C and E respectively, for inhibiting free radicals. Free radicals is one of the major causes of skin aging and cancer.
Circulatory and Vascular Disorders: Regular intake of grape seed extract is known to increase and promote better blood circulation, and has proved to be extremely beneficial to those who suffer from leg cramps, varicose veins, atherosclerosis, etc. It helps to improve the overall flow of blood.
Heart Diseases: As it improves blood flow, it helps the heart's pumping mechanism, thereby reducing the risk of blood clots as well as blockages in the blood vessels. It inhibits the development of plaque, high cholesterol, and chances of stroke get reduced.
Diabetes: The antioxidants in grape seed extract has helped many diabetics by lowering blood sugar. People who have diabetes-related complications like retinopathy, a major cause of blindness and nerve death, experience quicker healing when the extract is used orally. It helps heal internal inflammation too.
Combats Sagging Skin: Procyanidins, the compound in grape seed extract, holds the collagen tightly together. Collagen is an important protein found in the body, especially for good health of skin, hair, body tissues, teeth, gums, and bones. The bonding quality of the procyanidins promotes cell health and skin elasticity.
Besides the above, grape seeds provide many other benefits. Their antibacterial and antiviral properties help reduce the production of inflammatory compounds that cause allergic reactions in the body, like hay fever and skins ailments such as eczema and psoriasis. Many doctors prefer regular doses of the extract to antihistamines, as the former does not come with side effects. When taken regularly, it is believed to be helpful in controlling damage to the brain cells, mainly from free radicals. It stops the progression of muscular degeneration and cataracts. It also helps to heal and prevent cavities in the gum. Presently, many studies are being conducted to understand how grape seed extract can help prevent cancer, liver cirrhosis, and various degenerative diseases.
There are a few side effects like nausea and fainting spells. It can be a hindrance with cholesterol lowering drugs, and for those who are allergic to grapes, intake of this extract must be avoided. It is available in the form of liquid, tablets or capsules.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.