A powerful antioxidant
Resveratrol belongs to a large group of compounds called polyphenols. It is a powerful antioxidant isolated from plants, and its role is to protect the plant from external factors, such as ultraviolet radiation, injuries, fungi, stress… Antioxidants neutralize free radicals responsible for cell aging, and numerous scientific studies have confirmed the beneficial effects of and prevention of various diseases, primarily of the cardiovascular system.
Resveratrol is naturally present in the skin and seeds of grapes, peanuts, berries (blueberries, currants, raspberries, blackberries). The content of resveratrol is higher in black than in white grapes, and it is also contained in cocoa powder and dark chocolate. Wine contains the highest amounts of resveratrol compared to other natural products, and red wine is richer in this compound than white wine since fermentation during the technological process of production lasts longer in red wine. The content of resveratrol in grapes varies depending on the method of cultivation, geographical origin and exposure to fungi. Grapes grown in an environment with a higher percentage of moisture contain higher amounts of resveratrol than those grown in arid climates.
What is the French paradox?
The term French paradox implies a somewhat unusual situation that the French are far less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease.
In 1990, the American journalist Edward Dolnick was the first to publicly present the ideas of prof. dr. Jacques Richard in his health magazine. The article aroused great interest, and it explained the principles of nutrition for the first time, as well as the important role of red wine, which is traditionally drunk at lunch in France. The result of the research is the discovery of polyphenols – resveratrol, which is present in the skin of red grapes. It is one of the strongest antioxidants, although it has a number of other beneficial effects.
The diet of the average Frenchman is based on the intake of larger quantities of vegetables, fruits, olive oil, fish. The largest percentage of ingested fats is from dairy products – old cheeses, butter. The French avoid fast, ready-made, half-prepared food, fried food and concentrated sugars. They eat relaxed (lunch lasts two hours), unlike Americans who live and eat “in spasms” – it was they who invented fast foods and drive-in restaurants. Daily walking and recreation and red wine intake contribute to the lower incidence of coronary heart disease in France. Differences exist within the country itself. Burgundy, a famous wine-growing region, has the lowest mortality rate from heart disease.
Beneficial effect of resveratrol
The main action of resveratrol is antioxidant – it neutralizes free radicals, prevents the oxidation of cholesterol and stimulates the work of natural antioxidants. It inhibits the activity of harmful reactive compounds that occur during normal metabolic activities and thus prevents damage to cellular structures.
The benefits of consuming foods rich in resveratrol, as well as supplements, are multiple: prevention of cardiovascular diseases, lowering total cholesterol levels, prevention of oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol and prevention of plaque formation, ie. atheroma responsible for the development of atherosclerosis. Animal studies have shown its positive effect in lowering blood glucose levels, reducing the presence of insulin resistance, as well as decreasing the level of plaque in cerebral blood vessels in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. Due to its antioxidant effect, it is also recommended in the prevention of some types of cancer.
It prevents (limits) cardiac fibrosis, as well as all the consequences that result from it. These key researches were conducted at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine under the direction of prof. dr. Gary Meszarosa, and the results were published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology.
Helps to melt fat deposits. Recent studies show that it increases the ability of muscles to absorb glucose from food. The more glucose the muscles use to produce energy, the less glucose is deposited in fat cells.
Who is recommended to take resveratrol supplements?
People with a positive history of diseases related to glucose, fat and cholesterol metabolism, such as: atherosclerosis, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome.
Persons with initial changes in glucose, fat and cholesterol metabolism and in order to prevent these changes.
People who are in the process of losing weight and maintaining weight.
The recommended use of supplements containing resveratrol is in the morning before breakfast, because its absorption is best on an empty stomach.