(NaturalHealth365) There is a lot of hype surrounding resveratrol and the health benefits of drinking red wine. Resveratrol has been shown to help prevent diabetes, hypertension and stroke – but there is a better way to consume this powerful antioxidant.
Interest in resveratrol surfaced, in the early 1990’s, when its presence was reported in red wine and used as a rationale to explain the ‘French Paradox’ – where we see a low incidence of heart disease in a society that eats plenty of saturated fat.
Since then, so much has been written about red wine that many people barely know about the existence of resveratrol in other foods such as, blueberries and cranberries.
What does resveratrol do inside the body?
Resveratrol is a polyphenolic antioxidant abundant in red grapes, blueberries, mulberries, red wine and dark chocolate. It is a fat-soluble compound that is produced by plants in response to injury and fungal infections.
Many animal and lab studies have revealed the effective antioxidant activity of this purple compound. In addition to being a potent free radical scavenger – resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory and a potent neuroprotector.
How does resveratrol keep us healthy and strong?
Being versatile in its biological activity, resveratrol plays many roles in health and disease prevention. Resveratrol works by preventing the damage to cells and blood vessels and decreases oxidation of cholesterol. This is crucial in preventing plaque formation and blood clots.
Experts believe that resveratrol is an extraordinary antioxidant because it participates in cell-signaling pathways. Scientists from the Harvard Medical School unraveled part of the mystery pertaining to resveratrol’s action on the cells.
Resveratrol is found to inhibit certain types of proteins (enzymes) that help regulate the energy mechanics of a cell. This action influences a cell’s biological pathway including aging, metabolism and insulin response.
Diabetics find relief by consuming resveratrol
Initial studies on resveratrol began on its heart-protective effects, however recent research extends to its immune-building, cancer preventive, anti-aging and anti-diabetic capabilities.
A study published in 2011 British Journal of Nutrition concluded that resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity in humans by enhancing insulin signaling and decreasing oxidative stress in type 2 diabetics. A similar 2012 pilot study showed that doses of 1 -2 grams of resveratrol per day significantly improved the insulin sensitivity and blood glucose levels in older patients with glucose intolerance.
The results of this study are of much significance because, the antioxidant compound resveratrol not only improves the cell’s response to insulin, it also decreases oxidative stress common among diabetics. This reduces associated diabetic complications such as heart problems, stroke and elevated blood pressure.
Delicious ways to improve your health
Resveratrol is found in high concentrations in the skin and seeds of red grapes. Fresh grape skins contain 50 – 100 mg of resveratrol per gram – while the concentration in wine range from 0.2 to 7.7mg per liter.
If you love dark chocolate you are in for a treat, cocoa-containing products contain nearly 18.5 microgram of resveratrol per serving. Spanish red wines provide a greater concentration than dark chocolates – up to 1.89 mg per five ounce glass. Keep in mind, wine does contain alcohol and too much can cause other health-related problems – so maybe you ought to just throw some grapes into your next superfood smoothie.
Natural ways to boost your resveratrol uptake
Getting resveratrol from natural foods like grapes, blueberries and cranberries are a great start – for many reasons. First and foremost, these foods are safe and eating resveratrol from natural sources seldom lead to side effects unlike synthetic methods. Secondly, plant foods come with other benefits such as a combination of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds, phytonutrients and fiber which work together to promote overall good health.
Consuming fresh, wholesome, organic food sources rich in resveratrol is a pleasurable way to prevent diabetes, hypertension plus many other degenerative diseases. So, go ahead, enjoy a bite of organic, dark chocolate or mix some blueberries into your next smoothie to ensure great health.
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1. Brasnyo P, Molnar GA, Mohas M, et al. Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidative stress and activates the Akt pathway in type 2 diabetic patients. The British journal of nutrition.Aug 2011;106(3):383-389.
2. Crandall JP, Oram V, Trandafirescu G, et al. Pilot study of resveratrol in older adults with impaired glucose tolerance. The journals of gerontology Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences. Dec 2012;67(12):1307-1312.
3. Aggarwal BB, Shishodia S. Resveratrol in Health and disease (oxidative stress and disease) 2006 CRC Press.
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