Spit or Swallow? No, It’s Not What You Think

Next time you’re at the produce section of your favorite grocery store and are faced with a choice between seedless grapes and non-seedless, go for the seeds.  Sure, those little seeds are annoying and most people just spit them out. But after you read this, you may want to rethink that.

Recent studies have shown that proanthocyanidins a compound found in grape seeds and grape seed extract, may have a number of health benefits. Some of these benefits include a reduced inflammation after surgery, lower blood pressure, stronger cells throughout the body (grape seeds’ antioxidant properties  attack the free radicals that would otherwise cause that damage), strengthening blood vessel walls.

Scientists are also now researching whether grape seeds contain compounds that may help fight cancer, diabetes, dementia (including Alzheimer’s), and a number of other conditions that involve inflammation (including asthma, arthritis, and even allergies.

Grape seed extract is available in health food stores and many other places. But beware. First of all, no one is quite sure of the optimal dose of proanthocyanidins. Second, even if the dose were known, the FDA is not regulating “health foods,” which means that there is no way to properly assess the purity and quality of whatever is in the tablets or capsules you buy.

As usual, we suggest that you consult with your medial provider before you start taking any supplements, including grape seed extract.

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