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Are Grape Seeds The New Pills on the Block?

Credit: Healthline 4 mins read

Swallowing grape seeds is safe and the seed contains certain elements that aid in good sleep, reduces inflammation, oxidative stress, ageing, and fights certain cancers – Instagram User 

It is safe to swallow grape seeds. However, to get the benefits from the seeds content, it must be chewed before swallowing or its oils extracted before use.

Full Text

It’s ok to swallow grape seeds! An Instagram user claims. The individual goes on further by stating that the seeds in grapes contain melatonin, antioxidants, and flavonoids that are all good for consumers. 

Image Source: Instagram

Although the social media user does not state exactly how the seed gives the claimed benefits, it is suggestive that swallowing the seed will do it. Dubawa set out to find out the truth behind swallowing grape seed, its safety, and its benefits.

Verification

Firstly, we found that swallowing the seed is safe as it will just be passed out with excreta, much like other seeds. 

In terms of the benefits of the seed, Dubawa found that indeed, the seed contains some components that are beneficial for consumers. However, to get these benefits, the consumer must chew the seed before swallowing or extract the oil within the seed for use. 

We breakdown below our findings of the pros and cons for consuming the grape seed below.

The Good

Grape seeds, for years, have supposedly been used for medicinal purposes. They are rich in antioxidant compounds which can help to relieve oxidative stress, according to a study conducted by Lobo, Patil. Phatak and Chandra in 2010 ,titled, “Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods; Impact on human health”.  The study also states that grape seed properties can help prevent or resolve health issues like chronic diseases because of its antioxidant elements. 

As a good source of antioxidants because of its high proanthocyanidins content( the chemical compounds that give fruits their color), grape seeds can combat chances of getting oxidative stress and even further reduce swelling.

Also, Yilmaz and Toledo (2004), in their study, “Major Flavonoids in Grape Seeds and Skins: Antioxidant Capacity of Catechin, Epicatechin and Gallic Acid”, suggest that grape seeds have high quantities of the compounds called flavonoids (Gallic Acid, Catechin, Epicatechin) which are rich in antioxidants.

With all the talk about antioxidants, it’s important that we understand what this means.

Simply put, the human body creates some harmful  molecules or oxidants or what some call free radicals. These harmful molecules can contribute to ageing and old age-related diseases like heart disease. Therefore, these oxidants or harmful molecules need to be countered or balanced.

Additionally, grape seeds provide melatonin. Melatonin helps regulate sleep patterns. When taken in, melatonin induces fatigue which would induce sleep and consequently improve the quality of sleep one gets. Melatonin also happens to have antioxidant  and anti-inflammatory properties.

The antioxidants in grape seeds also protect the eyes from damage caused by oxidants or free radicals in the body and effectively avoid varicose veins as well.

In all, the efficacy of grape seeds or its extract has been thoroughly researched in relation to human health and has been found useful.

The not so good

Known for its blood thinning properties, the grape seed oil is not recommended for all people. 

A 2019 study found that grape seed extract has promising anticoagulant and antiplatelet activity properties. What this means is that, for instance, flavonoids help to thin out the blood by preventing blood platelet from gathering.

Although this can help prevent cardiovascular damage, it can be problematic for people on blood thinning medication.

To an extent, the fatigue-inducing property of melatonin, earlier mentioned, may be disadvantageous to grape seed consumers. 

Grape seed and Cancer

The claim in question suggests that grape seeds can also help with certain cancers. A multitude of studies have looked at the usefulness of grape seed in cancer prevention and treatment with varied findings. Some have had positive outcomes while some have not. 

According to the Memorial Sloan  Kettering Cancer Center, although grape seeds have antioxidant properties, it has not been shown to treat or prevent cancer.  They also suggest that very few studies have been conducted in cancer patients with one such study not finding any improvements in radiotherapy side effects among breast cancer patients. Other available sources have labelled it “promising”.

A study on the other hand suggests that grapes and grape-based products are excellent sources of various anticancer agents and that consuming them regularly should be beneficial to the general population. See more examples of supporting studies here and here.

It remains somewhat inconclusive what the true potential of the grape seed is in relation to cancer, as few human tests have been conducted. Research however does exist for and against its efficacy with regards to cancer.

Conclusion

Grape seeds are safe to swallow. They also have some great health benefits for consumers when chewed or extracted and consumed. It may not be recommended for some individuals however, especially those on blood thinning drugs. 

Roselena Ahiable is a Senior Researcher with Dubawa Ghana. Roselena has years of demonstrated work experience in advertising, sales and marketing, having worked with some of the leading brands in Ghana. She has completed a Master of Philosophy programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, with specialisation in Public Relations and Advertising. She has also received advanced training in print and broadcast journalism. Roselena also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Theatre Arts from the University of Ghana. As a trained journalist with interest in research, Roselena provides the team insight in news and media trend analysis.

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