Popularly known as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, researchers are exploring the possibility of additional health benefits of resveratrol.
What Is Resveratrol?
Produced in several varieties of plants, resveratrol is a phytoalexin which is a natural antibiotic a plant produces when attacked by bad weather, insects, fungi or bacteria. There are more than 70 species of plants producing varying amounts of resveratrol including:
- Darkly colored grapes (the skin)
- Eastern white pine
- Scots pine
- Stalks and roots of giant knotweed
- Stalks and roots of Japanese knotweed, known as hu zhang
Scientists using a method of chemical synthesis are also able to produce resveratrol.
The Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Sometimes referred to as the modern day fountain of youth, the antioxidant properties of resveratrol do help prevent the signs of aging. As research into its health benefits continue, resveratrol is being investigated as possibly having the following benefits:
- Slow the aging process and age related deterioration of cells
- Ability to target and destroy selective cancer cells
- Ability to protect against leukemia
- Assist in preventing cancer throughout the three phases: initiation, promotion and progress
- Increases levels of other helpful enzymes in the body
- Decrease the levels of cholesterol and saturated fats in the body leading to a healthier cardiovascular system
- Early research using mice shows resveratrol may block fatty deposits from clogging arteries
- Lower the risk of diabetes
- Reduce obesity
- Producing a positive effect on reversing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia by lowering amyloid-beta peptide levels which causes plaque to accumulate in the brain
Resveratrol in Grapes and Red Wines
The most abundant amounts of resveratrol are found in the skins of grapes used to make red wines, with the highest amounts in muscadine grapes. White wines do not contain as much resveratrol as the red varieties because the grapes are not fermented as long as they are in the making of red wine. Several types of white wine are made after the skin has been removed. These varieties do not contain any resveratrol. However, both red and white wine made from muscadine grapes contains a significant amount of resveratrol. Non-alcoholic red wine contain the same amount of resveratrol as alcoholic varieties.It is believed that adding dark grapes to your diet also has beneficial effects as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Here are several great ways to add grapes to your eating plans and increase your resveratrol intake:
- Freeze grapes for a delicious snack
- Add sliced red grapes into almost any type of salad - mixed greens, fruit or chicken
- Stewed grapes are a delicious complement to grilled or poached chicken breast
- Enjoy a delightful snack of dark grapes and a low fat cheese
- Drink dark red or purple grape juice
Resveratrol: As a Nutritional Supplement
Sold at stores throughout the country and many online retail outlets, resveratrol supplements are said to be very powerful antioxidants reducing the effects of aging on our bodies. The antioxidants reduce, and in some cases prevent, the formation of free radicals which damage membrane and attack healthy cells. Many of the resveratrol nutritional supplements are made using the Japanese knotweed plant rather than the skin of grapes because it is more cost effective.
Where to Find Resveratrol Supplements Online
The following websites are only a small sampling of the many online retailers offering resveratrol.
A Word of Caution
If you do choose to drink wine, it is important to always drink it in moderation and responsibly. If you are taking any prescription medications or over the counter medications on a regular basis always check with your medical practitioner to make certain you will not experience any adverse reaction caused by your medications and the alcohol in the wine.
Although there are many health benefits of resveratrol, there is still much scientific research to be done before all of resveratrol's benefits are known.