Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get the health benefits of red wine in a sober package

Resveratrol is a compound found in red grapes and most notably in red wine. It has been found to help lower blood sugar. Some studies done in animals suggest that
resveratrol may also lengthen lifespan. It also seems to have anti-cancer properties. And, at least if you're a mouse in an exercise lab, it can improve treadmill performance.

All of these findings have led proponents of red wine to promote a glass or two on a regular basis as health-promoting practice. The good news is, you can get resveratrol even if you're no longer consuming alcohol. Here are some sober ways to get more resveratrol into your diet.

1. Snack on peanuts. I know, for some of you, peanuts are probably a food it's not easy to eat in small quantities. You can always sprinkle them on a salad or on top of soups if that's a problem. they're one of the best natural sources of resveratrol outside of wine.

2. Don't forget peanut butter! It's economical, it's portable, and it's easy. I even travel with it, as a backup in case room service is closed by the time I arrive at my destination.

2. Cranberries and red grapes, fresh or in juice, are also good sources. These days dried cranberries are pretty easy to find, and they're wonderful in salads, on top of oatmeal, even sprinkled onto a turkey sandwich if it's not Thanksgiving when cranberry sauce is handy.

3. Eat more blueberries. Blueberries are getting a lot of attention as a superfood so they are pretty easily found. I even saw blueberry juice recently at Trader Joe's. I've seen the dried version cheap at Costco.

Be advised that powdered resveratrol supplements are primarily derived from Japanese knotweed. It is not really known if it is resveratrol alone that has such potent health powers, or if it acts in sync with other compounds in the foods mentioned above. My personal opinion is that it's always best to go with whole foods than it is to assume that a supplement outside of the environment Mother Nature packages it in is equally as productive to use.


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