Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking industry and has been making waves for its health benefits and culinary uses.
You may have heard it through the grapevine: this sweet juicy fruit offers a multitude of health benefits eaten as is from the vine, dried as raisins, processed into jam, or sipped as wine or juice. Even the seeds have been pressed into action to provide an excellent heart-healthy oil.
Grapeseed oil is a byproduct of the winemaking industry. However, the use of grapeseed oil was not popularized until recently, since grape seeds yield less oil when compared to oil-rich olive pits.
Due to the high smoke point of grapeseed oil (420 F or 220 C), it is a healthier choice for sauting and stir-frying in comparison to unrefined (virgin or extra virgin) olive oil, whose smoke point is only 320 F (160 C).
The smoke point of an oil is the amount of heat an oil can withstand before it begins to break down, forming free radicals in the process. When heated, grapeseed oil neutralizes free radicals, allowing your food to retain its freshness and flavour when cooked.
Due to its light, clean, nutty flavour, grapeseed oil can be used in marinades, salad dressings, homemade mayonnaise, and sauces without interfering with delicate flavour combinations.
When purchasing grapeseed oil, avoid oils that have been extracted using hexane, a harsh chemical. Look for brands that are expeller-pressed, a chemical-free mechanical method of oil extraction.
When stored in a cool, dry place away from direct light, grapeseed oil can last for at least a year. Once opened, it is best stored in the fridge.
Grapeseed oil contains a very high level of antioxidant vitamin E (60 to 120 mg per 100 g), a fat-soluble antioxidant which prevents injury of cell membranes. Vitamin E, along with selenium, copper, and manganese, is an integral component of our cells innate antioxidant defence system.
Vitamin E deficiency is associated with premature aging, cataracts, uncontrolled diabetes, cardiovascular disease, inflammation, and infection. Vitamin E also increases the bioavailability of vitamin A by inhibiting its destruction in the digestive tract. Vitamin A is a critical nutrient for maintaining health of all membranes, including the digestive tract, lungs, and urinary tract, as well as our external protective barrier, the skin.
Coupled with its ability to protect liver cells from damage, vitamin E provides complete protection of the bodys innate protective mechanisms.
Grapeseed oil is extensively used in the cosmetics industry for its soothing, emollient properties in lotions and cremes. It is the preferred oil for conditioners since it creates a shiny lustre on hair.
Mildly astringent, grapeseed oil has been found to lighten and tone the skin, making it an effective antiaging ingredient. Almost odourless, light in texture, and easily absorbed by the skin, it makes a useful skin care and cosmetic ingredient that leaves no tacky or oily residue.
Because of its light, almost odourless texture, grapeseed oil is one of the most popular carrier oils used by massage therapists. It also makes an excellent carrier oil for aromatherapy essential oils.
Whether you use it for cooking or for soft, beautiful skin, grapeseed oil offers some grape benefits.
Grapeseed Oil Versatility
Used often as a substitute for olive oil, grapeseed oil has many applications in the kitchen.
- With a light, almost neutral taste, it makes an excellent salad dressing ingredient.
- It makes a good base for infusing or flavouring with garlic, rosemary, or other herbs and spices.
- Because of its emulsifying ability, it makes a good mayonnaise ingredient.
- Its high smoke point makes it useful for deep-frying and sauting.
- It works well in baking and in marinades.