Grapes are a popular fruit that many people enjoy for their juiciness.
Most grapes found in grocery stores today are seedless, but some contain seeds.
As with other crops, seeded grapes are grown from seed, although they are the result of a genetic mutation that prevents hard seed exteriors from forming. Their vines are grown via a method called cutting, which is similar to cloning and does not require seeds.
This article examines whether grapeseed is safe to eat, as well as whether there are any risks or benefits to doing so.
Are grape seeds safe to eat?
Grapeseeds are small, crunchy, pear-shaped seeds found in the middle of seeded grapes. Grapes can contain one or more seeds inside.
Some people find grape seeds to have a bitter taste. Although not the tastiest, they are harmless to most people. If you choose not to spit them out, it is fine to chew and swallow them.
In fact, crushed grape seeds are used to make grape seed oil and grape seed extract, which have become popular health foods.
However, some populations may want to avoid eating grapeseed. Some research has shown that grape seed extract has blood-thinning properties, which could interfere with blood-thinning medications or be dangerous for people with bleeding disorders.
Still, most people probably wouldn’t be at high risk for this interaction just by eating a reasonable amount of whole-seeded grapes. To be safe, always speak with your doctor to discuss potential risks.
Grape seeds are safe for the general public. Although their natural blood-thinning properties may interfere with blood-thinning medications and should be discussed with your doctor, this is likely a low risk.
Potential Benefits of Eating Grapeseed
Grape seeds are rich in several plant compounds that may provide additional health benefits when consuming grapes.
For example, they are high in proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant-rich polyphenol that gives plants their red, blue, or purple color.
Antioxidants are compounds known to reduce inflammation and protect your body against oxidative stress, which can ultimately lead to metabolic syndrome and chronic disease.
The proanthocyanidins in grape seeds may also help reduce swelling and improve blood circulation.
Antioxidant-rich compounds called flavonoids, especially gallic acid, catechin, and epicatechin, are also found in grapes, with the highest amounts in the seeds.
These flavonoids have anti-free radical and anti-inflammatory properties, which may be particularly beneficial for your brain. In fact, research suggests that they may delay the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
Grapes also contain melatonin, which becomes more concentrated in the seeds as the grapes ripen.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates circadian rhythms like your sleep pattern. Ingesting melatonin can help induce fatigue and drowsiness and improve sleep quality. It also acts as an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Grapeseed is a rich source of antioxidants, flavonoids, and melatonin, which may support heart and brain health, better sleep, and normal circulation.
Grape seed supplements
Grape seeds are used to make dietary supplements, such as grape seed extract (GSE), which many people take for its anti-inflammatory and circulation-improving properties.
GSE is made by grinding grape seeds after extracting them from the grape and drying them.
It’s a concentrated source of antioxidants, which may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, slow aging, and protect you against chronic diseases like certain cancers.
GSE also contains gallic acid, a compound that has been shown in some animal and test-tube studies to inhibit plaque formation in the brain, which can lead to neurodegenerative disease.
One study found that oral intake of up to 2500 mg of GSE for 4 weeks was found to be generally safe and well-tolerated in humans.
Whole grape seeds can also be purchased. These are usually meant to be used to make tinctures or extracts, or crushed and added to teas, to reap their potential benefits.
Some people may experience nausea or upset stomach from grapeseed supplements, but GSE is generally considered safe, and minimal adverse effects have been reported.
Because GSE is much more concentrated than eating seeded grapes, its use should be discussed with your healthcare professional, especially if you are taking blood-thinning medications.
In general, there is a lack of evidence regarding the safety of using grapeseed supplements during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
A study in maternal rats showed that ingestion of grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) had negative effects on offspring, including insulin resistance. As such, it is best for pregnant or breastfeeding populations to avoid using it.
The most popular grape seed supplement is sold as grape seed extract (GSE), which may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. You can also buy whole grapeseeds to make tinctures or tea yourself.
Although most types of grapes in stores today are seedless, you can sometimes find grapes with seeds in the middle.
Grape seeds are crunchy and taste bitter, but that doesn’t mean you have to spit them out. If you choose to consume grape seeds, they are unlikely to harm your health.
Grape seeds contain several compounds that may provide health benefits, such as antioxidants, flavonoids, and melatonin. They are also used to make healthy foods like grape seed oil and grape seed extract, which are used as supplements.
Although those taking blood-thinning medications may be at a small risk if they eat a huge amount of grapeseed, most people can consume them without concern.
Still, whether or not you choose to eat grapeseed is a personal preference, and you probably won’t miss any major benefits — or avoid any major risks — if you spit them out.