Resveratrol – why do you live without it?
French people drink more wine and eat more sugar and fat-rich foods, and interestingly, they still have the lowest percentage of heart health issues. Why? The answer lies in “French Paradox”, a term used to describe the counteracting effect of resveratrol on fat and alcohol.
Resveratrol is a much-hyped plant compound found in red or purple grapes, red wine, dark chocolate and some berries. This naturally occurring plant phenol has been touted and examined by scientific researchers as a phytoestrogen, an antioxidant, and an anti-cancer agent. Several studies show that this compound has numerous health benefits ranging from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and age-related conditions like the Alzheimer’s disease. Let’s have a look at some of its amazing health benefits.
Resveratrol Contributes to Heart Health
Consumption of resveratrol is linked to reduced incidence of coronary artery disease and other related heart health problems. It mainly protects against atherosclerosis, a disease in which thickening and hardening of arteries occur secondary to the accumulation of cholesterol and fatty acids. This is called “plaque formation” which eventually narrowed the lumen of arteries, resulting in reduced blood flow and death of the cells (heart attack).
Resveratrol has strong anti-atherogenic properties means it blocks the accumulation of cholesterol and fatty acids in the arteries and thus helps reduce coronary artery diseases. Additionally, it also has been demonstrated to reduce high blood pressure.
Resveratrol Combats Obesity
Resveratrol helps prevent fat storage and can cause the death of fat cells. It exerts its fat-curbing effect by inhibiting certain enzymes that help produce more fats like hormone-sensitive lipase, lipoprotein lipase and fatty acid synthase. Another phenomenon by which it causes the death of fat cells is activating the SIRT1 gene, which is believed to boost metabolism and burn extra fat. Resveratrol thus helps shed extra pounds and protects the body against the harmful effects of obesity.
Lengthens Lifespan in Certain Animals
The ability of resveratrol to extend lifespan in few lower animals has become a major area of research in the past decade. It is due to the fact that this phenol compound has a potent antioxidant action and can activate various genes that ward off certain diseases of ageing like the Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, and sarcopenia. It is not yet clear if it would have a similar effect in humans, however, clinical trials and research is in the process to confirm this valuable health benefit.
Resveratrol May Prevent Cancer
Resveratrol has strong anti-oxidant properties and has been proven effective as an anti-cancer agent for the treatment of estrogen receptor-positive cancers. Among various naturally occurring plant phenols, it has been found to act as estrogen inhibitor, which makes it a potential candidate in treating breast cancer. Besides treating estrogen receptor-positive cancers, resveratrol is also effective against oesophagal cancer, liver cancer, and skin cancers.
It May Ease Joint Pain
Arthritis is a disease characterized by inflammation of joints, joint pain and loss of mobility. In more advanced stages, it may also involve degeneration of cartilage and soft tissues. When taken as a supplement, resveratrol can not only reduce inflammation, but also help protect cartilage from deteriorating. A recent animal study shows less damage to the cartilage of rabbits with arthritis when resveratrol is injected directly into their joints.