Saturday, September 18, 2010

Health Benefits of Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that helps to prevent heart disease and may provide a number of other health benefits, as well. Red wine has a high concentration of resveratrol from grapes.

Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Studies show that resveratrol promotes health by protecting cells in your body from oxidative damage. The effects of resveratrol in protecting the heart and blood vessels is clear. On the other hand, the effect on cancer. obesity and other diseases is not so clear. 
  • Heart disease. Resveratrol in red wine promotes heart health by reducing “LDL or ‘bad” cholesterol and increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. Studies show that resveratrol may also work by reducing inflammation in the cells. Inflammation is a major cause of a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer.
  • Cancer. Laboratory studies show that resveratrol can prevent the growth of cancer in cell culture and in some laboratory animals by interfering with the ability of cancer cells to multiply and grow. However, further investigations will be needed to determine if the same effects can be achieved with humans.
  • Obesity. Resveratrol might help to prevent or treat obesity, based on studies in rats in which  resveratrol prevented fat cells from maturing. Resveratrol also appears to change the size and function of fat cells. However, researchers caution that more studies would be needed to determine the long-term effects of such treatment on humans.
Food Sources of Resveratrol
The most common food sources of resveratrol are red wine, grapes and purple grape juice. Other sources include berries, such as blueberries and cranberries.

A Word About Drinking
Red wine is a good source of resveratrol and offers real health benefits to people who drink responsibly. It is also an alcoholic beverage, which means it has the potential for abuse. Excessive drinking could lead to alcoholism, liver damage and other serious health problems. Recognizing these potential dangers, the American Heart Association and others caution against drinking too much. The recommended limit for those who drink is one drink (12 ounces of wine) per day for women and 2 drinks (24 ounces of wine) per day for men.