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  • Writer's pictureKim Smolders

Resveratrol. The Super Polyphenol.

You will likely have come across this powerful polyphenol called resveratrol, and likely in relation to grapes & red wine, everyone's favourite resveratrol-filled food.

Resveratrol is part of a family called polyphenols, compounds found in plants that not only protect the plant, but also have great anti-oxidant benefits to the human body, protecting it from free radical damage. Other more well-known polyphenols include quercetin, EGCG, curcumin and fisetin, to name a few.

There are more than 8000 types of polyphenols, all of which have a different effects on the body. If you have heard the saying "eat the rainbow", polyphenols are the reason. They give the different plants, fruits and vegetables their colour. Eating a variety of colourful plant-based foods thus ensures that you get all of the different healthful polyphenols that nature has provided for us, keeping us healthy from the inside out.

The benefits of resveratrol.

1. Reduces inflammation & oxidative stress

Excessive inflammation in the body is at the root cause of many of today's illnesses and diseases. Chronic low-grade inflammation that is continuous will cause damage to your body's cells, tissues and organs, eventually leading to illness and disease. Oxidative stress is the damage caused by free radicals from toxins and those produced from normal bodily processes. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory properties as it inhibits nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kB that is the master signal of inflammation) in the cells, reducing systemic inflammation & oxidative stress caused by free radicals, thus supporting overall health & wellbeing.

2. Supports heart health

Studies have shown that resveratrol has a positive impact on your lipid panel: it can help to reduce total & LDL (the bad) cholesterol as well as raise HDL (the good) cholesterol.* It can also protect against atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of your arteries. It provides a protective lining for your blood vessels, hereby reducing damage to these from inflammatory markers. Blood clotting has also been shown to be reduced.

3. Has neuroprotective properties

Due to its high anti-oxidant levels, resveratrol has the potential to slow age-related cognitive decline and help protect your brain from aging faster.** This could help prevent dementia as well as Alzheimer Disease, where it inhibits beta-amyloids, protein fragments in the brain linked to the development of AD.

4. May be helpful in diabetes management

Animal studies have shown that resveratrol can potentially improve insulin sensitivity.*** This is powerful in the prevention and healing of diabetes - pre-diabetes and diabetes occur when cells have become insensitive to insulin, allowing blood sugar levels to be elevated. There is also evidence that it may slow the progression of diabetic nephropathy, a direct cause of diabetes.

5. Has an anti-aging effect

The powerful anti-oxidant effect of polyphenols in general, but resveratrol in particular, is very anti-aging. These anti-oxidants protect your cells from damage and oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Free radicals are compounds in the body that break down and damage cells, accelerating the aging process as they go about this. Anti-oxidants neutralise these free radicals, causing less damage, and this less aging. Anti-aging, both inside and out!

6. Is anti-carcenogenic

Lab tests on animals have shown promising results when researching the effect of resveratrol on cancer cells, specifically breast, colon, skin, gastric and prostate cancers.**** There is even evidence that it could have a positive impact on cancer cells at all stages of development, which is a great achievement in the fight to treat and beat cancer.

7. May reduce arthritis pain

The potential for anti-oxidants to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress no doubt has an effect on the levels of pain one feels. Research and studies around this topic indicate that resveratrol can reduce joint swelling and tenderness as well as disease activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis.***** It can also help decrease cartilage damage and relieve pain.

8. Is wonderful for your skin

Resveratrol works both inside and outside the body. Our skin is exposed to toxins and free radicals all the time - UV rays from the sun, pollution, chemicals in our self-care products .. The damage caused by these free radicals is one of the biggest contributors to aging as it induces the enzyme collagenese, which causes the break down of collagen, a protein that is essential to plump and radiant, wrinkle-free skin. Resveratrol works at cellular level to combat free radical damage and stimulate collagen production, thus slowing down the appearance of skin aging. It also helps to protect the skin from exposure to free radicals and its anti-inflammatory properties hydrate and even out skin tone.

Where to find it?

Resveratrol has been researched extensively, and its health benefits are plentiful - antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-microbial and anti-carcenogenic. Dark red grapes (as a whole fruit, in grape juice, or red wine form) and raw cocoa have the highest concentration, but peanuts, berries (blueberries. mulberries, raspberries, cranberries & red currants), pomegranates, and pistachios also have good amounts. Getting sufficient levels to make significant impact on your health, minimum of 100mg a day, is difficult through diet alone (you would need to drink 100 glasses of red wine, which would negate any health benefits!), so a high quality supplement can certainly help.

Always check with your doctor before starting any supplements. There can always be unexpected interactions with other drugs or supplements you are taking.

Research resources


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