By Dr. Mercola
Grapes are one of the most popular fruits in the U.S., but many people neglect to eat what is perhaps their healthiest feature — the seeds. Grape seeds are rich in powerful antioxidants and natural plant compounds called oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs).
OPCs are most well known for their antioxidant activity, which means, at the very least, grape seed may help to destroy free radicals in your body, which in turn may help you avoid premature aging and certain chronic diseases.
However, OPCs also demonstrate a host of other beneficial activities in the body, which may explain why grape seed extract appears to help so many different health conditions while exerting its effects body-wide.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):1
“Today, grape seed extract is used as a folk or traditional remedy for conditions related to the heart and blood vessels, such as atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and poor circulation …
… [C]omplications related to diabetes, such as nerve and eye damage; vision problems, such as macular degeneration (which can cause blindness); swelling after an injury or surgery; cancer prevention; and wound healing.
The grape seeds used to produce grape seed extract are generally obtained from wine manufacturers.”
OPCs Help Make Grape Seed Extract a Health Superstar
One of grape seed extract’s claims to fame is OPCs, which are related to the much more well-known compound resveratrol (found in grape skins). According to the journal Alternative Medicine Review, OPCs not only have antioxidant activity but are also:2
In addition, the journal reported OPCs “have been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation, platelet aggregation, capillary permeability and fragility, and