Before you spit out the seeds in grapes, think again, it might have some good use.

According to a research, eating grape seeds may help combat degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

Experts at the Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, found that mice fed with grape seed extract for six months had better cognitive function than those on a normal diet.

They believe that the seeds could be used as a cheap treatment for preventing Alzheimer's.

Professor Xin-Fu Zhou said the extract prevented the formation of deposits of amyloid proteins - a major cause of the disease - in the brain.

He said: Grape seed extract demonstrates a strong disease-modifying effect. As a dietary supplement, the effect of grape seeds is significant and beneficial.

It is a safe, natural product which contains 'goodies' that we shouldn't throw away.

The six-month study of mice with symptoms of dementia showed that the animals fed the extract had a 50 per cent reduction in damage to their brain cells.

Grape seeds, like many fruits and vegetables, contain polyphenols - complex molecules with anti-oxidant properties.

Some have been identified by scientists as a possible way of reducing amyloid deposits.

Lead researcher Dr Yanjiang Wang said that moderate wine consumption is already recommended to prevent Alzheimer's disease, but since the disease mainly afflicts elderly people, many of whom cannot or will not drink alcohol, grape seed extract is a better choice.

A team from the Australian government-funded Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation (CSIRO) found that grape seed extract also prevented DNA damage.

The level of damage to DNA, which is a fundamental cause of accelerated ageing and degenerative diseases, was reduced by including grape seed extract in the diet of these mice, said CSIRO scientist Dr Michael Fenech.