Can You Eat Grape Seeds?

Most people spit grape seeds out as they are quite bitter in taste, however, they are actually quite good for you! Even though grapes are one of the most popular fruits worldwide, many people neglect to eat the part that’s most jam-packed with nutrients: the seeds.

Grape seeds are full of beneficial compounds such as antioxidants like oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs). OPCs fight against free radicals in the body and protect against numerous chronic conditions as a result. These conditions include diabetes, dementia, coronary heart disease and even some types of cancers (1).

In addition to all these benefits, the antioxidants in grape seeds are incredibly powerful agents against coronary heart disease as they reduce atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. They even combat high cholesterol levels and improve overall blood circulation (2). Their effects on blood pressure as especially seen in young to middle-aged people as well as those who have excess weight. 

Due to their ability to regulate blood flow, grape seeds are very beneficial for postmenopausal women as they help prevent blood clots. By improving blood circulation, they can also prevent swelling and oedema (1).

Grape seeds also have plenty of benefits for eye health. They can improve vision and fight the effects of ageing on the eyes. They also promote wound healing and fight against inflammation especially after surgery (3).

Overall, grape seeds are known to have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-allergic and vasodilatory actions (1). This means that they are good for many different parts of your body. In addition to your circulatory system and your eyes, they are also good for your liver, kidneys, brain and much more. They were also found to protect against breast, stomach, colon, prostate and lung cancers (4).

Lastly, grape seeds are great for bone health as they contain plenty of flavonoids that enhance collagen production and promote bone formation. Studies have also linked them to being able to combat the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease that primarily affects the joints (5). 

So, it’s clear that eating grape seeds are incredibly good for you. However, the bitter taste is definitely off-putting and even the thought of eating them is unappealing! While you can purchase bags of whole grape seeds to consume, there is no need to suffer through the bad taste to reap the benefits.

Grape seed extract can easily be found in the form of supplements. Made from ground-up seeds that are used to make red wine, this extract has all the nutrients that grape seeds contain. Look for formulations that are at least 90% OPCs as these are the most beneficial compound in grape seeds. Formulations that are at least 40-80% proanthocyanidins are also good for you (6).

Grape seeds are certainly very healthy and can bestow numerous health benefits when consumed. Although their taste is extremely bitter and unpalatable, you can easily consume grape seed extract in the form of supplements and enjoy all the benefits!

References:

  1. Kaur, M., Agarwal, C., & Agarwal, R. (2009). Anticancer and cancer chemopreventive potential of grape seed extract and other grape-based products. The Journal of nutrition139(9), 1806S–12S. doi:10.3945/jn.109.106864
  2. Ky, I., Lorrain, B., Kolbas, N., Crozier, A., & Teissedre, P. L. (2014). Wine by-products: phenolic characterization and antioxidant activity evaluation of grapes and grape pomaces from six different French grape varieties. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)19(1), 482–506. doi:10.3390/molecules19010482
  3. Fidelis, M., de Moura, C., Kabbas Junior, T., Pap, N., Mattila, P., Mäkinen, S., … Granato, D. (2019). Fruit Seeds as Sources of Bioactive Compounds: Sustainable Production of High Value-Added Ingredients from By-Products within Circular Economy. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland)24(21), 3854. doi:10.3390/molecules24213854
  4. Grace Nirmala, J., Evangeline Celsia, S., Swaminathan, A., Narendhirakannan, R. T., & Chatterjee, S. (2018). Cytotoxicity and apoptotic cell death induced by Vitis vinifera peel and seed extracts in A431 skin cancer cells. Cytotechnology70(2), 537–554. doi:10.1007/s10616-017-0125-0
  5. Rashid, M., Verhoeven, A., Mulder, M. T., Timman, R., van Beek-Nieuwland, Y., Athumani, A. A., … Berk, K. A. (2018). Use of monomeric and oligomeric flavanols in the dietary management of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and microalbuminuria (FLAVA trial): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. Trials19(1), 379. doi:10.1186/s13063-018-2762-9
  6. Weseler, A. R., & Bast, A. (2017). Masquelier’s grape seed extract: from basic flavonoid research to a well-characterized food supplement with health benefits. Nutrition journal16(1), 5. doi:10.1186/s12937-016-0218-1