You may have heard that it is healthy to drink red wine in moderation. One of the reasons for the potential health benefits of red wine is its resveratrol content. Grapes, cranberries, blueberries and peanuts are also sources of resveratrol, which is a type of antioxidant called a polyphenol.
Many of the studies on resveratrol focus on its potential benefits for heart health. This antioxidant may help keep you from getting blood clots, lower your cholesterol, prevent inflammation and keep your weight in check so that you are less likely to get heart disease or suffer from a stroke.
While research is still in the preliminary stages, resveratrol may also help keep you from getting cancer. So far, most of the studies have used cells in test tubes and animals rather than people, but it appears that resveratrol may help prevent the growth of tumors and the spread of cancer cells as well as increasing the rate at which these cells die, according to an article published in "Cancer Prevention" in April 2009.
This antioxidant may also help if you are at risk for diabetes, since it improves your sensitivity to insulin, which means it can help to lower your blood glucose levels. However, you may need a special type of resveratrol supplement that isn't broken down as quickly by the body to get these benefits.
Since most of the studies on resveratrol have used animals, the safe and effective dose for people hasn't been determined. Resveratrol from food sources is quickly broken down by the body, so it isn't clear whether these foods provide any health benefits when consumed in normal amounts. There hasn't been enough research yet on the effects of taking high doses of resveratrol in people, and although taking resveratrol supplements probably won't hurt you, the resveratrol in supplements isn't well absorbed, according to MayoClinic.com. If you take blood thinners, talk to your doctor before using resveratrol supplements, since they may interact with this type of medication.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.