Grape seed oil, suitable for cooking at high temperatures. Also used as a salad oil, and in cosmetics.
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Grape seed oil (also called grapeseed oil or grape oil) is a vegetable oil pressed from the seeds of various varieties of Vitis vinifera grapes, an abundant by-product of winemaking. Grape seed oil is used for: salad dressings, marinades, deep frying, flavored oils, baking, massage oil, sunburn repair lotion, hair products, body hygiene creams, lip balm and hand creams. Most grape seed oil is produced in Italy, with other producing nations including France, Spain, and Argentina. Although known to Europeans for centuries, grape seed oil was not produced or used on a large scale until the 20th century, largely because grape seeds contain a lower percentage of oil as compared to other oil-producing seeds, nuts, or beans.
Grape seed oil is extracted from grape seeds and has a relatively high smoke point, approximately 420 °F (216 °C), so it can be safely used to cook at high temperatures. Grape seed oil can be used for stir-fries, sautéing and fondue. In addition to its high smoking point, grape seed oil has other positive attributes in relation to cooking. It has a clean, light taste that has been described as ‘nutty’. Because of its ‘neutral’ taste, grape seed oil is often used as an ingredient in salad dressings or as a base for infusing or flavoring with garlic, rosemary, or other herbs or spices. It is also used as an ingredient in homemade mayonnaise. One is able to use less grape seed oil for precisely the same reasons that the cosmetics industry likes it, the emollient and film-forming virtues.
The metabolic energy density of grape seed oil is comparable to that of other oils: about 120 kcal per tablespoon (34 kJ/ml). However, because less oil is needed for cooking, it can be used within a low-fat diet especially when combined with good frying techniques (such as using enough oil, not overcrowding the pan, and having the oil at the correct temperature) which reduces the amount of absorbed oil.
In all products grape seed oil is a preferred cosmetic ingredient for damaged and stressed tissues, possessing regenerative and restructuring qualities which allow a better control of skin moisturization. It can help skin retain the normal structure of epithelium cells and nerve cells via supporting the cell membranes. It is noted to be especially effective for repair of the skin around the eyes. Used as an all-over skin moisturizer, grape seed oil is known to reduce the look of stretch marks. A light, thin oil, grape seed oil leaves a glossy film over the skin when used as a carrier oil for essential oils in aromatherapy. It contains more linoleic acid than many other carrier oils. Grape seed oil is also usable as a lubricant for face shaving.
Grape seed oil is reputed to contain plentiful antioxidants. In a study presented in 1993 at the American College of Cardiology Scientific Session, Nash and colleagues showed in 56 men and women using up to 1.5 ounces (43 g) per day, an amount that one can cook with, that grape seed oil raised HDL levels by 13% and reduced LDL levels by 7% in three weeks. The total cholesterol/HDL ratio fell 15.6%, and the total LDL/HDL ratio fell 15.3%, which could be significant for those at risk of heart attack.