Sounds like a complicated substance that should be sitting on a periodic chart of elements or in a science laboratory, but resveratrol is becoming increasingly popular and you have probably already consumed this natural phenol.
Some people may be accustomed to taking it in its capsule form and seeing it on the shelves of health stores, but this plant compound can also be found in different food sources too and is one of nature’s strongest antioxidants. So, what is so unique about resveratrol and why should we include this supplement in our diet? Continue reading so you can find out what is resveratrol benefits and why it is a great natural remedy. I would recommend pouring a glass of red wine for this one! You are about to find out why red wine is good for you.
Res- vera- huh?
I know it is not the easiest of names to remember, but you will soon find out why it should be remembered. Before we get started into the wonderful health benefits of resveratrol, let’s first understand what it actually is?
Resveratrol is a stilbenoid, which is a naturally occurring phenol and a phytoalexin that is produced by more than 70 species of plants. Plants make resveratrol in response to fungal or bacterial infection, ultraviolet radiation, injury, and stress.
Resveratrol is an extremely powerful antioxidant that offers many benefits to the range of plants that produce this substance, and whilst plants are protected against environmental stresses, you may be wondering how resveratrol is good for humans and why we are consuming this plant compound? Hang on, we will let you know!
Sources of Resveratrol
Resveratrol can be bought in capsule form from many health stores. The capsules contain ground resveratrol powder that is white in color with a slightly yellow tint. Always read the label of store-bought resveratrol capsules and supplements to make sure you have purchased a natural and organic resveratrol supplement.
Besides purchasing resveratrol in capsule form, below is a list of other sources of this powerful antioxidant:
- The skin of red grapes (this is the most common source of resveratrol)
- Grape juice
- Dark chocolate
- Bilberries and cranberries
- Itadori tea
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Red wine: This is of course my favorite source of resveratrol. The natural process of making red wine increases the content of resveratrol in the red grapes used, making red wine an excellent source of this powerful antioxidant.
Here is an interesting fact. Studies have shown that red grapes and peanuts have lower levels of resveratrol compared to red wine and Italdori tea. What does this mean? It means that the liquid forms of resveratrol are better sources of this plant compound. So, more red wine then?
The Benefits of Resveratrol
I am sure you have heard that having some red wine can help lower your levels of “bad” (LDL) cholesterol, this is because it contains resveratrol.
Several animal studies have shown that resveratrol can change blood fats in a healthy way. A 2016 study was conducted on mice to prove the benefits of resveratrol on cholesterol levels. The mice were fed a high-protein and high-polyunsaturated fat diet and then given resveratrol. The LDL cholesterol levels of the mice decreased while their good (HDL) cholesterol levels increased, they also lost weight. This study showed that resveratrol can influence cholesterol levels because it reduces the effect of an enzyme that is responsible for producing cholesterol.
Resveratrol is an antioxidant; it can decrease the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and reduce plaque build-up in the walls of arteries. This means that resveratrol is excellent for decreasing the risk of heart disease and a stroke.
Because resveratrol can protect the body from the harmful effects of a high-calorie diet, it can help manage weight and possibly encourage weight-loss too.
In the same 2016 mice study (listed under lower cholesterol), the mice lost weight when they consumed resveratrol. This is because it acts on adiponectin which is made by fat cells in the body and encourages weight-loss by improving the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Further studies have also shown that resveratrol reduces the accumulation of harmful triglycerides and thus has fat-reducing properties. If you want to find out what foods you can eat that help you lose weight naturally, then be sure to read through this article: https://betanaturalhealth.com/food-to-eat-and-lose-weight/.
Increased Insulin Sensitivity
Resveratrol is excellent for those who suffer from diabetes because various studies have shown that it can increase insulin sensitivity and prevent complications associated with diabetes.
Resveratrol can inhibit the enzyme that turns glucose into sorbitol (a sugar alcohol). If sorbitol builds up, it can lead to cell-damaging oxidative stress. This is especially harmful for people who have diabetes.
Another benefit of resveratrol is that it activates the protein AMPK. This protein helps metabolize glucose and when activated it helps keep blood sugar levels low.
Lower Blood Pressure
Because resveratrol offers antioxidant properties, it can offer the benefit of lowering blood pressure in the body and reduce the risk of heart disease.
A 2015 study indicated that high doses of this plant compound helped reduce the pressure exerted on the artery walls when the heart beats. This pressure is known as systolic pressure.
Resveratrol can lower blood pressure because it helps produce more nitric oxide which causes the blood vessels to relax.
Protects the Brain
Here is another reason that a glass of red wine can actually be good for you. Several studies have shown that drinking red wine can help slow age-related cognitive decline in the brain. This is because of the resveratrol it contains which offers antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Resveratrol interferes with protein fragments called beta-amyloids. These proteins are essential because they form plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. Resveratrol can also set off a chain reaction that protects the brain cells from age-related damage.
Further studies have shown that resveratrol not only offers protection for brain cells, but it can also rescue hippocampal neurons that are exposed to nitric oxide. This is because of resveratrol’s antioxidant properties.
Joint Pain Relief
Resveratrol is being explored as a treatment for arthritis. This condition leads to joint pain and decreased mobility.
Several studies have been conducted to prove resveratrol can help protect cartilage from deterioration. One study injected resveratrol into the knee joints of rabbits that were suffering from arthritis and found that after receiving resveratrol, the rabbits had significantly less cartilage damage.
The anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol help reduce inflammation and damage around the joints to ease pain and discomfort. The antioxidant properties of this polyphenolic compound can also help repair tissue damage that is associated with knee osteoarthritis.
We all know what happens when we drink too much red wine and the impending hangover that greets you the next morning after having one too many glasses. But how much resveratrol is safe for daily consumption when taking it as a supplement?
Most resveratrol supplements contain 250 – 500 milligrams of the plant-compound, but that is a lot lower than the amounts that are considered beneficial in various studies. A beneficial dose is approximately 2 grams or more per day.
For those taking resveratrol for insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular health, the recommended daily dose is 5-10mg.
For people who are generally healthy, the daily dose 150-445mg is recommended.
Although there are no know side-effects from taking resveratrol, exceeding 2.5g of resveratrol per day may cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea,, and nausea.
Bottom of the Glass
Resveratrol was first identified as an active ingredient from the dried roots of Polygonum cuspidatum, which is a plant mainly found in China and Japan. Polygonum extract has been used in both Chinese and Japanese natural remedies for centuries and commonly used to treat fungal infections, skin inflammation, cardiovascular disease, and liver disease. These days resveratrol’s main source is grape skin and it is commonly used to treat complications and triggers of heart disease, such as maintaining blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and for its beneficial properties towards insulin sensitivity.
Of course, the more favorable source is a glass of red wine or snacking on dark chocolate. So, next time you have a glass of red wine, you can enjoy each sip knowing that it offers some wonderful natural health benefits. We say cheers to that!
Leave a comment below if you found the information helpful
Until next time