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Dark Chocolate, Red Wine… that Resveratrol is oh so Devine

Posted Nov 04 2009 10:05pm

Any discussion on an antioxidant should begin with explaining why they are important so if you already know about free radicals then skip to the next paragraph or you can continue on here for a refresher. Oxygen is necessary for life but, unfortunately, oxygen also causes chemical reactions within the body that generate free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are missing electrons and are therefore unstable. In order to stabilize themselves, they must steal electrons from other molecules in the body which causes something called oxidative stress. Oxidative Stress is very damaging to the bodily tissues and causes wrinkles, muscle loss and a whole host of degenerative diseases. Oxidative stress is an ongoing process that cannot be stopped (because we need oxygen in order to live) and if left unchecked, it will eventually cause the tissues to breakdown so much that death will ensue. Luckily for us, we have discovered that antioxidants help to slow this process and that is why antioxidants are praised so highly and are considered so important.

Resveratrol or trans-resveratrol is in the polyphenol category of antioxidants and is produced in the skin and seeds of purple or red grapes as their natural means of inhibiting mold growth. It has also been found in Cocoa Powder, baking chocolate and Dark Chocolate products with cocoa powder containing the highest of those three but not more than red wine. Resveratrol is also produced by raspberries, mulberries and peanuts but at lower levels. Muscadine Grapes are known to have the highest levels of Resveratrol because their skins are thicker than most grapes and they also contain more seeds than most other varieties.

Resveratrol is an alcohol soluble compound which explains why Red Wine is known for its antioxidant power. Red wine contains anywhere from 1.5 to 3 milligrams (1500-3000 micrograms) of Resveratrol per liter while grape skins and seeds can yield 50 to 100 micrograms per gram making red wine a much more concentrated form of Resveratrol. Unfortunately for most of us, drinking any more than one glass of red wine per day actually offsets the benefits of Resveratrol and increases your risk of disease. Also, some red wine may not contain any Resveratrol at all unless the grapes were grown in damp/moldy areas or the grower refused to use fungicides since Resveratrol is the plant’s defense against fungus and mold.

So what is so special about Resveratrol?

This powerful antioxidant is thought to fight Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain disorders due to its very special ability to cross the blood brain barrier. Because it can cross this barrier, it is able to protect the brain and nervous system from oxidative stress and the diseases that come from it.

Resveratrol is also know to switch on a gene called SIRT1 within our bodies that can increase longevity or lifespan up to 70% (about 50 years) and is known to fight the signs of aging along with increasing your fat burning potential. It has been shown to help your liver metabolize fat and then helps to break down stored fat contained in your white adipose tissue.

It can also help to fight Cancer and Heart Disease while lowering blood pressure, raising good cholesterol, preserving red blood cells, protecting your body against fungal infections, assisting your anti-inflammatory response and helping to prevent blood clots that lead to stroke. In addition to all that, it has also been shown to protect the liver and pancreas, reduce cataracts, improve coordination, encourage bone health, reduce disk deterioration, protect joints, guard against Parkinson’s disease, improve erectile performance and help to regulate cell health while protecting against adverse cell changes.

Recent studies have even shown that Resveratrol can help to reduce and possibly even reverse the effects of alcohol induced fatty liver disease. Alcohol induced fatty liver disease occurs when the liver becomes damaged from alcohol abuse and cannot break down fat efficiently. Since the liver is unable to break down fat, the fat starts to build up within the liver eventually causing liver diseases like cirrhosis or fibrosis which can lead to total liver failure if left untreated. Our livers contain two proteins called SIRT1 and AMPK which are vital for breaking down fat in the liver but alcohol abuse tends to inhibit the ability of these proteins to do their job. Resveratrol has been shown to increase levels of these two proteins and their ability to breakdown fat. In addition to this, the higher levels and increased activity of SIRT1 and AMPK helped to decrease levels of proteins that are involved with the build up of liver fat and also increased levels of a hormone called adiponectin which metabolizes fat so not only does it help to break down exisiting fat but it also helps to metabolize fat more efficiently.

Growers have even found that coating their crops with trans-resveratrol can help to prevent mold, yeast, aging and microbial related spoilage.

If you chose to eat dark chocolate for the antioxidant benefits of Resveratrol then choosing a chocolate with the highest percentage of cacao will usually reap more benefits since it is the cocoa powder which contains the compound. 6.7 grams of chocolate a day, which is less than half a candy bar a week, provides the most benefit so don’t think this gives you free reign to gorge yourself on chocolate. A healthier option for eating chocolate is to buy Organic Cocoa powder and make your own by mixing it with honey, which is what I do. I add peppermint essential oil if I want the chocolate to be minty and you can also add different dried fruits, coconut, nuts or anything else you like in your chocolate. All you have to do is mix the ingredients to your taste preference and stick it in the fridge to harden and voila, a healthy chocolate that costs less and you know all the ingredients are safe and natural. Here are just a few sources for the ingredients:

Navitas Organic Cacao Powder

Mountain Rose Organic Cacao Powder

Organic Raw Honey From Vitacost

Tropical Traditions Raw Honey

Vitacost Search Peppermint Essential Oil

If you want the full daily benefits of Resveratrol you should consider taking a supplement that contains whole grape seeds and skins or the roots of the Japanese knotwood but don’t think that the more you take, the better the effects. We don’t know for sure what the effects of high doses may be so stick to the dosage guidelines and try to factor in your other dietary intakes of Resveratrol. Some sources for Resveratrol supplements include but are not limited to:

Purple Defense

NSI Muscadine Grape Seed

Vitacost Search Resveratrol

Vitaminlife Search Resveratrol

05/18/09 Updated to Include Information on Alcohol Induced Fatty Liver Disease

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

References:
1. http://www.naturalnews.com/024930.html
Accessed: 05/06/09, Author: Byron Richards
2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/01/15/resveratrol.aspx
Accessed: 05/06/09
3. http://www.nutrientreference.com/resveratrol.html
Accessed: 05/06/09
4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/10/28/resveratrol-also-f
Accessed: 05/06/09
5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/06/09/grape-skin.aspx
Accessed: 05/06/09
6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/01/longevity-gene.asp
Accessed: 05/06/09
7. http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/resveratrol.html
Accessed: 05/06/09
8. http://www.naturalnews.com/026274.html
Accessed: 05/18/09, Author: David Gutierrez

Any discussion on an antioxidant should begin with explaining why they are important so if you already know about free radicals then skip to the next paragraph or you can continue on here for a refresher. Oxygen is necessary for life but, unfortunately, oxygen also causes chemical reactions within the body that generate free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that are missing electrons and are therefore unstable. In order to stabilize themselves, they must steal electrons from other molecules in the body which causes something called oxidative stress. Oxidative Stress is very damaging to the bodily tissues and causes wrinkles, muscle loss and a whole host of degenerative diseases. Oxidative stress is an ongoing process that cannot be stopped (because we need oxygen in order to live) and if left unchecked, it will eventually cause the tissues to breakdown so much that death will ensue. Luckily for us, we have discovered that antioxidants help to slow this process and that is why antioxidants are praised so highly and are considered so important.

Resveratrol or trans-resveratrol is in the polyphenol category of antioxidants and is produced in the skin and seeds of purple or red grapes as their natural means of inhibiting mold growth. It has also been found in Cocoa Powder, baking chocolate and Dark Chocolate products with cocoa powder containing the highest of those three but not more than red wine. Resveratrol is also produced by raspberries, mulberries and peanuts but at lower levels. Muscadine Grapes are known to have the highest levels of Resveratrol because their skins are thicker than most grapes and they also contain more seeds than most other varieties.

Resveratrol is an alcohol soluble compound which explains why Red Wine is known for its antioxidant power. Red wine contains anywhere from 1.5 to 3 milligrams (1500-3000 micrograms) of Resveratrol per liter while grape skins and seeds can yield 50 to 100 micrograms per gram making red wine a much more concentrated form of Resveratrol. Unfortunately for most of us, drinking any more than one glass of red wine per day actually offsets the benefits of Resveratrol and increases your risk of disease. Also, some red wine may not contain any Resveratrol at all unless the grapes were grown in damp/moldy areas or the grower refused to use fungicides since Resveratrol is the plant’s defense against fungus and mold.

So what is so special about Resveratrol?

This powerful antioxidant is thought to fight Alzheimer’s Disease and other brain disorders due to its very special ability to cross the blood brain barrier. Because it can cross this barrier, it is able to protect the brain and nervous system from oxidative stress and the diseases that come from it.

Resveratrol is also know to switch on a gene called SIRT1 within our bodies that can increase longevity or lifespan up to 70% (about 50 years) and is known to fight the signs of aging along with increasing your fat burning potential. It has been shown to help your liver metabolize fat and then helps to break down stored fat contained in your white adipose tissue.

It can also help to fight Cancer and Heart Disease while lowering blood pressure, raising good cholesterol, preserving red blood cells, protecting your body against fungal infections, assisting your anti-inflammatory response and helping to prevent blood clots that lead to stroke. In addition to all that, it has also been shown to protect the liver and pancreas, reduce cataracts, improve coordination, encourage bone health, reduce disk deterioration, protect joints, guard against Parkinson’s disease, improve erectile performance and help to regulate cell health while protecting against adverse cell changes.

Recent studies have even shown that Resveratrol can help to reduce and possibly even reverse the effects of alcohol induced fatty liver disease. Alcohol induced fatty liver disease occurs when the liver becomes damaged from alcohol abuse and cannot break down fat efficiently. Since the liver is unable to break down fat, the fat starts to build up within the liver eventually causing liver diseases like cirrhosis or fibrosis which can lead to total liver failure if left untreated. Our livers contain two proteins called SIRT1 and AMPK which are vital for breaking down fat in the liver but alcohol abuse tends to inhibit the ability of these proteins to do their job. Resveratrol has been shown to increase levels of these two proteins and their ability to breakdown fat. In addition to this, the higher levels and increased activity of SIRT1 and AMPK helped to decrease levels of proteins that are involved with the build up of liver fat and also increased levels of a hormone called adiponectin which metabolizes fat so not only does it help to break down exisiting fat but it also helps to metabolize fat more efficiently.

Growers have even found that coating their crops with trans-resveratrol can help to prevent mold, yeast, aging and microbial related spoilage.

If you chose to eat dark chocolate for the antioxidant benefits of Resveratrol then choosing a chocolate with the highest percentage of cacao will usually reap more benefits since it is the cocoa powder which contains the compound. 6.7 grams of chocolate a day, which is less than half a candy bar a week, provides the most benefit so don’t think this gives you free reign to gorge yourself on chocolate. A healthier option for eating chocolate is to buy Organic Cocoa powder and make your own by mixing it with honey, which is what I do. I add peppermint essential oil if I want the chocolate to be minty and you can also add different dried fruits, coconut, nuts or anything else you like in your chocolate. All you have to do is mix the ingredients to your taste preference and stick it in the fridge to harden and voila, a healthy chocolate that costs less and you know all the ingredients are safe and natural. Here are just a few sources for the ingredients:

Navitas Organic Cacao Powder

Mountain Rose Organic Cacao Powder

Organic Raw Honey From Vitacost

Tropical Traditions Raw Honey

Vitacost Search Peppermint Essential Oil

If you want the full daily benefits of Resveratrol you should consider taking a supplement that contains whole grape seeds and skins or the roots of the Japanese knotwood but don’t think that the more you take, the better the effects. We don’t know for sure what the effects of high doses may be so stick to the dosage guidelines and try to factor in your other dietary intakes of Resveratrol. Some sources for Resveratrol supplements include but are not limited to:

Purple Defense

NSI Muscadine Grape Seed

Vitacost Search Resveratrol

Vitaminlife Search Resveratrol

05/18/09 Updated to Include Information on Alcohol Induced Fatty Liver Disease

- For Educational Purposes Only
- Not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition
-These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA
- These statements are my opinions and conclusion from the knowledge I have thus far

References:
1. http://www.naturalnews.com/024930.html
Accessed: 05/06/09, Author: Byron Richards
2. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/01/15/resveratrol.aspx
Accessed: 05/06/09
3. http://www.nutrientreference.com/resveratrol.html
Accessed: 05/06/09
4. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/10/28/resveratrol-also-f
Accessed: 05/06/09
5. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2004/06/09/grape-skin.aspx
Accessed: 05/06/09
6. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/10/01/longevity-gene.asp
Accessed: 05/06/09
7. http://www.quackwatch.org/01QuackeryRelatedTopics/DSH/resveratrol.html
Accessed: 05/06/09
8. http://www.naturalnews.com/026274.html
Accessed: 05/18/09, Author: David Gutierrez

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