Grapeseed Oil Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Grapeseed oil, as its name implies, is a cooking oil made from the seeds of grapes. Typically, the grapes used are those leftover from the process of winemaking.
Although grapeseed oil is derived from wine grapes, it has a neutral (not fruity) taste and light color. Its relatively high smoke point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit makes it a versatile choice for higher-heat cooking methods like grilling and sautéeing, and thanks to its neutral flavor, it can easily be used in baking or as a dressing for salads and pasta.
Some studies suggest that grapeseed oil can be applied topically for skin and hair benefits. Plus, its high content mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids make it a more heart-healthy oil compared with those high in saturated or trans fat. . For a unique alternative the same old vegetable oils, grapeseed oil can be a part of a healthy diet.
Grapeseed Oil Nutrition Facts
The following nutrition information for 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of grapeseed oil has been provided by the USDA.
- Calories: 120
- Fat: 14g
- Sodium: 0mg
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Fiber: 0g
- Sugar: 0g
- Protein: 0g
Even though grapes have carbohydrates, the only macronutrient grapeseed oil contains is fat.
Grapeseed oil’s 120 calories per tablespoon all come from fat. Its saturated fat is quite low compared to many other oils, at just 10% of its total. (One tablespoon contains 1.5 grams of saturated fat, or 8% of the Daily Value.)
The remaining fatty acids in grapeseed oil are about 18% monounsaturated and 70% polyunsaturated. Omega-6 fatty acids supply the bulk of these polyunsaturated fats. While omega-6 fatty acids are considered a more heart-friendly fat, some research does suggest a diet high in omega-6s may increase inflammation. However, the key is to balance omega-6s with a high intake of omega-3 fatty acids.
Again, grapeseed oil is pure fat, meaning it contains no protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Since it’s often marketed as a health food, you might expect grapeseed oil to be bursting with vitamins and minerals. However, this isn’t quite the case. The primary micronutrient you’ll find in this oil is vitamin E which is common for many oils. Instead, the majority of its health benefits come from this oil’s unsaturated fat content.
One tablespoon of grapeseed oil can contain anywhere from minuscule traces of vitamin E to about 8 mg, or 53% of the RDA.
The amount of vitamin E in any given batch of the oil depends on the cultivar of grape used and environmental conditions during its growth.
Additionally, grapeseed oil may contain certain antioxidant phenolic compounds, such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and tannins. These will also vary by brand and extraction method.
There are several health benefits of grapeseed oil including improved heart health, skin health, and healing properties.
For heart health, it’s best to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats—and grapeseed oil is certainly high in so-called PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids). Compared to high-saturated fat options like butter or shortening, grapeseed oil is by far a better cooking oil for your cardiovascular system.
May Smooth and Hydrate Skin
Beyond its advantages in edible form, grapeseed oil may also provide benefits when applied topically. Some research suggests that its fatty acids can increase hydration in the skin and reduce roughness and scaling.
May Promote Wound Healing
Omega-6 fatty acids, such as the linoleic acid in grapeseed oil, are known for their role in the healing of wounds. According to a 2018 review, consuming linoleic acid may help speed up tissue repair.
Might Have Antimicrobial Activity
More studies are needed to determine grapeseed oil’s antimicrobial effects, but limited research has shown it could kill some pathogens. This likely has to do with the oil’s phenolic compounds, like reservatrol, which can inhibit the growth of bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli.
Suitable for Many Special Diets
As a single-ingredient, non-allergen food, grapeseed oil is suitable for a number of special diets. With no sodium, gluten, dairy, protein, carbohydrates, or animal products, you can confidently include it in gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb, and vegan eating plans.
Grapeseed oil is not known to be an allergen food.
Grapeseed oil’s content of omega-6 fatty acids is a point of controversy. Although research seems to indicate that the linoleic acid in grapeseed oil does not boost inflammation, some studies have raised concern that a diet high in omega-6 might increase the risk of various chronic diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and heart disease. However, it is important to note the main concern in over omega-6s is from those found in processed or fried foods.
Instead, many nutrition experts recommend focusing on the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 in the diet as the more important factor for optimal health.
Since the standard American diet tends to skew toward more omega-6 fatty acids, consuming foods with higher omega-3 content, such as fatty fish or chia seeds, alongside grapeseed oil can help balance this out.
Unlike wines, which come in every variety under the sun, grapeseed oils are manufactured in just two primary categories:
- Cold-pressed: In cold pressing, oil is extracted from grape seeds mechanically, without heat or chemicals. This process preserves the nutrient content of the oil, so it usually carries a higher price tag.
- Solvent-extracted: Uses heat and a chemical solvent, like petroleum distillate, to release oil from grape seeds. This may alter taste and degrade nutrients somewhat, but results in a less expensive product.
You may also find some grapeseed oils sold in blends with avocado, olive, or other oils. The addition of alternative oils to grapeseed will of course change its composition, smoke point, and nutrition which may or may not be a good thing. If 100% pure grapeseed is what you’re after, be sure to check ingredient labels carefully.
When It’s Best
Grapeseed oil is available year-round, so there’s no one time when it’s best.
Storage and Food Safety
Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats, like grapeseed oil, are the most susceptible to oxidation—the process of degradation from exposure to light, heat, and oxygen.
Therefore, it’s important to keep grapeseed oil tightly sealed in a cool, dark place, such as your pantry. If you’re unlikely to use much of it within about six months, purchase the oil in small quantities. Never reuse cooked grapeseed oil.
How to Prepare
With its mild, slightly nutty flavor, grapeseed oil serves as a pleasant backdrop for many dishes, such as salad dressings, pasta sauces, and baked goods.
If substituting grapeseed oil for other oils, simply use a one-to-one ratio. Grapeseed oil also stands up to high-heat cooking methods like sautéeing, grilling, and roasting because of its high smoke point of 420 degrees Fahrenheit.