Maybe it's time to consider pouring a glass of red wine (or grape juice) and sitting down to enjoy a healthy snack of peanuts, grapes, dark chocolate, cranberries and blueberries along with a dash of cocoa. What do all these delectables have in common? They are sources of resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that some experts have even touted as a potential fountain of youth. Resveratrol belongs to a group of compounds, numbering in the thousands, known as polyphenols. These are found in natural plant food sources and are produced, according to medicinenet.com, as one of nature's ways of bolstering a plant's ability to fight off disease. Polyphenols play a vital part in helping to maintain our health and wellness, as well. They are antioxidants working to guard our cells from free radical damage, which is how we get the claim that these plant-based substances can control the rate at which we age. Research on resveratrol is incomplete, but enough testing has been done, mostly in animal studies, that shows it can help protect us against the following:
- Heart disease. It is believed to help reduce LDL ("bad" cholesterol) and impede the formation of clots that can lead to a heart attack.
- Diabetes. Resveratrol, per webmd.com, helps prevent insulin resistance, whereby the body becomes less responsive to insulin, a blood sugar-lowering hormone.
- Alzheimer's disease. Might be able to stave off the accumulation of plaque that can be a factor contributing to the disease.
- Inflammation. Not only is inflammation a factor in heart disease, there also are potentially fatal inflammatory diseases such as appendicitis and systemic sepsis that can possibly be treated by resveratrol, per articles.mercola.com. According to health expert Dr. Joseph Mercola, resveratrol puts a halt to inflammation by stopping our "body from creating two different molecules known to trigger inflammation – sphingosine kinase and phospholipase D."