Resveratrol has many health benefits. It may prevent or reduce the development of certain cancers, preventing genetic damage caused by free radicals. It also reduces the symptoms of diabetes, heart disease, liver failure, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Although resveratrol has not yet been found to cure these diseases, it is believed to slow down the progression of the disease and help people maintain a healthy body weight. Some studies have also shown that resveratrol may reduce the risk of cancer and inflammation.
So what does resveratrol do? In essence, resveratrol acts as an antioxidant. An antioxidant is any substance that protects against the oxidative damage of molecules, such as when oxygen is run over by electrons (free radical activity). Free radicals are nasty substances that damage cellular DNA, leading to mutations that lead to cancer, aging, and other degenerative diseases. Some of the substances in red wine, peanuts, berries, chocolate, peanuts, berries, cranberries and grapes contain antioxidants, so eating these foods is not a bad idea after all.
When you eat resveratrol, the compound interacts with a number of different proteins in your body, many of which are involved in energy production, metabolism, and the regulation of inflammatory responses. The net effect is that the body uses its own supply of energy, produces fewer insulin molecules, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol and helps prevent heart disease. The potential for the health benefits of resveratrol extends beyond cardiovascular disease and diabetes, however. The antioxidant may also lower the likelihood of developing lung cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and some forms of cancer of the colon.
Resveratrol may also have protective effects in the brain. The French have enjoyed excellent health results for years thanks to their consistent consumption of resveratrol. In numerous studies, rats injected with cancerous tumors were given an extensive dose of resveratrol. Despite the cancerous cells being malignant, they were still able to survive, suggesting that the antioxidant may be able to protect against certain forms of cancer.
While we do not yet know all the possible benefits of resveratrol, there are a few diseases that it seems to have less effect on than others. For example, it has not been proven to have any effect on type 2 diabetes or neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, though it is said to be effective against chronic liver disease, the only clinical test result to date is an increase in liver enzymes. Resveratrol does not seem to have an effect on blood sugar levels, though it has been studied in diabetic patients, and there are no signs of an increased insulin resistance as a result.
There are two main categories of resveratrol: polyphenols and phytochemicals. Polyphenols are much more concentrated and hard to absorb than phytochemicals, but in smaller doses they can be just as healthy. The most common polyphenols found in red wines and grape skins are quercetin and resveratrol. Quercetin, an ingredient in red wine, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, while resveratrol is present in a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs. It is the total phytochemical contents of foods that provide the most health benefits.
Besides all of the possible positive effects of resveratrol, this little polyphenol also has some interesting potential negative effects. For example, a paper published in the Journal of American Science reported that resveratrol may be useful in treating certain types of cancer. This is because resveratrol may help prevent cells from becoming damaged and spread to other parts of the body. Resveratrol may also help prevent certain types of blood pressure from becoming worse. This is because it appears to lower blood pressure in laboratory rats by reducing the levels of a chemical in the body called nitric oxide.
Resveratrol can be found in dark colored grapes, blackberries, red grapes, blue berries, Japanese knotweed, and peanuts. Although scientists are not sure how much of this compound is actually found in various foods, most people believe that eating at least a serving of red wine with dinner is enough to provide the body with what it needs to lower blood pressure and prevent certain cancers. The French Paradox indicates that people in France have lower incidences of heart disease, while those in America have the highest incidences. Therefore, eating plenty of red wine and other foods rich in antioxidants may help to lower your risk of these common diseases.