Olive oil and grapeseed oil have grown in popularity over the years due to the various health benefits touted for each of them. Which one of them is better for cooking, your skin, and your overall health?
Olive oil beats grapeseed oil for cooking because it is high in antioxidants and vitamin E, has a moderately high smoke point, and is resistant to oxidative damage. It also trumps grapeseed oil in health benefits as it has more nutrients. Both are, however, similarly useful in skin and hair care.
The rest of the article will take a closer look at both oils and how they compare across the different use cases.
What Is Olive Oil?
Olive oil is the liquid fat derived from pressing whole olives and extracting their oils. It is one of the most commonly used vegetable oils today, used for a variety of purposes. There are three grades of olive oil: extra virgin olive oil, virgin oil, and refined oil.
Extra virgin olive oil is the product of crushing or cold-pressing olives and isn’t subjected to any form of processing. It is the variant most recommended for use by experts as it contains the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals.
What Is Grapeseed Oil?
Grapeseed oil is a product obtained by processing the seeds of grapes. In the past, winemakers were at a loss on what to do with the seeds, but technological advancements mean that manufacturers can now take the seeds and extract them. The oils are extracted in factories by crushing the seeds and using solvents.
- High in antioxidants and vitamin E. Extra virgin olive oil is rich in vitamin E and other powerful bioactive substances, which means that it can help fight against free radicals responsible for cell damage and diseases.
- High concentration of heat-stable monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is mostly made up of monounsaturated fats (around 87%). These types of fats are not sensitive to heat, which means that cooking or frying olive oil doesn’t change its composition a great deal.
- Smoke point is moderately high. This refers to the temperature at which it will begin to degrade and produce smoke you can see. When this happens, it means that fat molecules have broken apart and have turned to harmful compounds. The smoke point of olive oil is around 374-405°F (190-207°C), which makes it safe for different types of cooking, including frying.
- Resistant to oxidative damage. Oxidation in oils means reacting with oxygen to form a range of harmful compounds. This process happens quickly when the oil is heated. However, olive oil holds up against oxidation even during deep-frying, because it has a low polyunsaturated fat content.
- Cooking can destroy some of the antioxidants. Although normal cooking or frying won’t oxidize or deeply damage olive oil, it can still reduce the vitamin E concentration and antioxidants that are sensitive to heat. The quantity of oleocanthal, which is responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil, can also be reduced by up to 20% due to cooking.
- Has high polyunsaturated fat and Omega-6 content. Grapeseed oil is made of 70% polyunsaturated fats and ultimately has a high concentration of omega-6. A high intake of omega-6 acids can increase inflammation in the body and lead to an increased risk of developing chronic diseases.
- Has a moderately high smoke point but not resistant to oxidative damage. Grapeseed oil doesn’t smoke easily, which means that many people regard it as a good option for frying foods. However, since it is high on polyunsaturated fatty acids, moderate heat can cause oxidative damage to the oil, leading to the formation of free radicals and other harmful compounds.
- Is low in nutrients. Grapeseed oil has a high concentration of Vitamin E, with one tablespoon containing up to 3.9mg (0.060 grain) of it (19% of the recommended daily intake). However, there are no other minerals or vitamins found in grapeseed oil.
Olive oil contains many antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals and can withstand oxidative damage, while grapeseed oil only contains a few antioxidants and moderate concentration of Vitamin E, and it is also highly sensitive to heat. This makes olive oil a better option for cooking.
- Prevents water loss. Olive oil moisturizes the skin by limiting water loss. The increased moisture content leads to healthier and more supple-looking skin.
- Helps protect against degradation due to environmental pollutants. Since olive oil is rich in antioxidants, it helps protect the skin cells against damage and inflammation caused by pollutants in the environment. The result is skin that is protected against irritation, redness, and premature aging.
- Reduces oxidative stress. The vitamins E, A, K, and D in olive oil and squalene can help reduce oxidative stress on the skin. Oxidative stress causes accelerated aging, so this benefit also helps to keep you looking younger.
- Has anti-inflammatory ingredients can help in wound healing. Olive oil contains triterpenes, which help in the biological reactions that are important for the healing process such as collagen deposition, cell proliferation, and cell migration. These compounds can make wound repair easier by reducing the length of time required to close wounds.
- May help with acne outbreak relief. Grapeseed oil has antimicrobial properties. Therefore it’s used by many people to treat acne outbreaks. There’s no definitive research into the efficacy of the treatment, but since the oil can attack the bacteria that cause breakouts by getting into skin pores, it makes sense that it is recommended for clear skin.
- May increase the elasticity of the skin. Grapeseed oil helps the vitamins E and C in your skin to work more efficiently. It also helps your skin to retain moisture while increasing its softness and elasticity.
- May help deliver a more even skin tone. Grapeseed oil contains proanthocyanidin, a powerful antioxidant that can ensure an even skin tone when you consistently use it. Oral consumption of grape seed extract can also improve the symptoms of melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation.
- May protect against UV burns. The antioxidants in grapeseed oil can absorb UV rays, preventing any damage when you are out under the sun.
Olive and grapeseed oil hold many benefits for the skin. Both can help ensure higher moisture content in the skin, but they individually excel in other areas. While olive oil can help in preventive skincare, grapeseed oil can be used to cure acne and hyperpigmentation.
- Can serve as a conditioner. Olive oil is rich in emollients like palmitic acid, squalene, and oleic acid. This makes it effective as a conditioner. Many industrial conditioners and shampoos contain artificial emollients.
- Moisturizes the hair. Olive oil can moisturize the hair. It achieves this by penetrating the hair shaft and ensuring better moisture retention. With increased moisture, the hair becomes more pliable and less prone to breakage. As the oil smoothes out the cuticle, the hair will become glossier.
- May help reduce dandruff. Since oil moisturizes the hair, it can help in the treatment of dandruff caused by dryness or scalp irritation.
- May help promote hair growth. Olive oil is one of the best vitamin E sources, which can ensure stronger hair that won’t fall off easily. Regular application of olive oil can also help to deal with split ends.
- Can make hair more vibrant. Grapeseed oil can restore your hair’s vibrancy and natural shine. This is because it is one of the plant oils that contain natural conditioning agents. Using it on your hair can help restore moisture and fight frizz. It can moisturize and condition your hair without weighing it down or making it look oily as an added benefit.
- May help in fighting dandruff. Grapeseed oil is another solution for dandruff caused by dry scalp. However, just like other oils, it can’t fight dandruff caused by deeper skin conditions like dermatitis, psoriasis, or fungal damage.
- May improve the hair growth rate. One study where grapeseed oil was used as a scalp treatment in mice showed that it could significantly improve hair growth. The presence of procyanidin oligomers and linolenic acid can also help in the fight against baldness. Hair experts also include it in oil mixes made for hair growth alongside other oils like eucalyptus, peppermint, and jojoba oil.
Both olive and grapeseed oils can provide benefits in hair care. They may help fight dry scalp, frizz, split ends, and dryness-induced dandruff. Grapeseed oil may also speed up hair growth when combined with other oils too.
- Is rich in monounsaturated fats. Olive oil is 73% oleic acid, which is monounsaturated fat. This compound holds several health benefits, including fighting inflammation and inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
- Is rich in antioxidants. Extra virgin olive oil has a high concentration of antioxidants, some of which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The oxidants also help to prevent cholesterol oxidation in the blood, which may reduce the risk of heart disease.
- May help to prevent strokes. Research has shown that olive oil is a source of monounsaturated fat that may reduce stroke and heart disease risk. Another study showed that people who consumed olive oil had a lower risk of stroke than others who didn’t include it in their diet.
- Supports good heart health. Heart disease is the most common cause of death around the world, but studies showed that people in the Mediterranean region didn’t report similar numbers of heart-related casualties. This led to research in their diet. The result showed that the diet, which has extra virgin olive oil as a key ingredient, can protect against heart disease. It has also been shown to lower blood pressure, reducing the need for blood pressure medication by up to 48%.
- Is not known to cause obesity or weight gain. A study with over 7,000 participants showed that consuming a lot of olive oil did not increase body weight.
- May support brain health against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease causes the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain cells. More research is needed on olive oil’s impact on this disease, but a study showed that olive oil could help remove these plaques.
- May help reduce the risk of Type-2 Diabetes. Studies have shown that olive oil can have some positive impacts on blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. This is in line with another study that showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil reduced the risk of type-2 diabetes by around 40%.
- Is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Grapeseed oil is predominantly made up of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can be beneficial to your heart health. These fatty acids can reduce cholesterol.
- Is high in omega-6 fatty acids. If you’re not getting enough omega-6 in your daily feeding, adding grapeseed oil to the diet is a good idea. However, too much of it is unhealthy and can lead to chronic diseases.
- Contains a moderate concentration of Vitamin E. Grapeseed oil doesn’t have the highest vitamin E concentration amongst cooking oils, but with one tablespoon containing 26% of the recommended daily serving. It beats olive oil as a source of vitamin E. This fat-soluble oxidant helps protect cells from the damaging effects of free radicals.
- It helps in stress relief therapies. Chronic stress can cause a lot of problems in the body, including hair loss, acne, dry skin, rashes, and premature aging. Grapeseed oil is used as a carrier oil in stress-relieving aromatherapy treatments.
Olive oil has many more health benefits when compared to grapeseed oil. The former is rich in antioxidants and vitamins and can prevent a wide range of medical conditions, while the latter only provides a good supply of vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids, which aren’t always beneficial.
Olive oil beats grapeseed oil as cooking oil and has many more health benefits. The fewer number of health benefits may be due to the fact that a lot more studies have been conducted on olive oil than grapeseed, but in terms of pure nutritional value, olive oil wins.
For skin and hair care, however, both oils can prove useful in different ways. Don’t forget only to use extra virgin olive oil and cold-pressed grapeseed oil to enjoy any of their documented benefits. Commercially produced grapeseed oil can contain chemical solvents such as hexane.