Grape seed extract and the prevention of chronic degenerative disease.

Suprising but grape seed extract may be better for you than the grapes from which it comes.

For countless centuries, people from many different cultures have enjoyed a fine glass of wine, but only recently have scientists discovered that it might be good for us, too.

Yes, moderate wine drinking actually has a number of excellent potential health benefits, although of course the alcohol is not the part that does all the good!

In fact, one of the surprising advantages of millions of consumers enjoying the fruits of the wine industry is that its by-products can be made into some really useful health supplements.

Take grape seeds, for example. Grape seed extract is known as waste product of the winery and grape juice industry, because they don’t go into the finished drinks.

What is in grape seed extract?

What you may not know is that grape seed extract contains a vast array of health-giving ingredients, such as protein, lipids, carbohydrates and polyphenols (which come mainly in the form of flavonoids, also known as bioflavonoids). The term flavonoid is used for a class of plant chemicals known for their activity as highly potent antioxidants, and therefore for their capability in protecting the body against oxidative and free radical damage. It’s not really surprising when you consider the scientific studies: they show that the antioxidant power of polyphenols is 20 times more powerful than vitamin E, and 50 times greater than vitamin C.

Because of its polyphenol content, purple grape juice provides a far greater antioxidant effect than orange juice.

What else can grape seed extract do?

Some people call these polyphenols “nature’s biological response modifiers” because of their ability to help the body fight viruses, allergens, and carcinogens.

That means that among their many talents, they exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-cancerous and anti-microbial activity.

Not bad for a “waste product”!

Procyanadin: The secret anti aging vitamin?

One particular type of phenol found in grape seed is called procyanidin. It was initially discovered in 1936 by Professor Jacques Masquelier, who called it Vitamin P, (although the name didn’t really catch on, and has since fallen out of usage).

As well as the disease prevention mentioned above, procyanidins are thought to protect the body from premature ageing. Scientists think they do this by increasing vitamin C levels in the cells and scavenging for toxins so the organs can get rid of them.

A good "side effect": Younger looking skin

Procyanidins also bond with collagen, the most abundant protein in the body and a key component of skin, gums, bones, teeth, hair and body tissues.

The bonding promotes cell health and skin elasticity, making it seem more youthful, in a process that works almost like a natural face-lift. Procyanidins additionally help protect the body from sun damage, which can also cause premature ageing of the skin.

More importantly it helps inside the body

Vanity is one thing, but underlying health is quite another.

Far more important to your body than looking good, is the fact that procyanidins can improve your vision, the flexibility of your joints, the health of your arteries and body tissues (such as the heart) and also strengthen capilliaries and veins to improve your circulatory system.

This is important because the health of your circulatory system affects the health of your heart. It seems that grape seed extract delays the oxidation of low density lipoproteins, the fats that are responsible for “bad cholesterol”.

The longer it takes for LDL to oxidize, the less likely it is to start clogging up your veins and arteries. People who drink purple grape juice can show an increase in oxidation lag time of 27%.

So, procyanidins present in grape seeds are known to exert anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and anti-allergic activities, to prevent skin aging, to scavenge oxygen free radicals and to inhibit the damaging effects of UV radiation from sunlight.

Since most of these processes are linked to cancer, it follows that grape seeds are probably strong anti-carcinogenic and/or anti-tumor-promoting agents.

Studies show they may have particular use against colorectal cancer, and scientists are devoting a fair amount of new research to grape seed because they’re pretty confident about its abilities.

The other "secret ingredient" of grape seed extract.

One other of the grape’s hidden health weapons is also worth a mention: it’s called resveratrol. This chemical is found primarily in the skin and seeds, particularly in muscadine grapes, and it confers a number of beneficial effects to the body.

They include all those mentioned above, but also an ability to help the brain and its processes work efficiently i.e. they have neuroprotective capabilities. In rats, this has life-prolonging effects, so it’s reasonable to assume it may do the same for other animals, humans included.

Whats the best way to get grape seed extract into your body?

Luckily, you don’t have to drink litres of wine or grape juice, or eat sacks of grape seeds to get these helpful chemicals into your body.

Thanks to modern technology, we now have high-quality grape seed extract in the form of supplements.

That means you can enjoy all the health-giving properties of grape seed simply by taking a pill.

Meanwhile, it’s a bonus to know that all these amazing added benefits are coming from the “waste products” of wine, so that an enjoyable pastime for some folks results in a health boost for millions of others.

Next time you toast your good health, you might like to spare a thought for the humble grape seed and all the wonders it can offer your body. Cheers!

Medical references 83,84,85,86,87,88,89,90

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