Several years ago, I was visiting my cousin and his wife in France and watched in amazement as they ate a diet high in fats and drank wine while looking and feeling great. I realized during this visit that their diets were rich in a compound called resveratrol—and that resveratrol benefits our bodies in some pretty incredible ways.
You see, resveratrol is found in certain grapes (such as Vitis vinifera, labrusca, and muscadine grapes) that have an extra chromosome, which causes them to provide extraordinary anti-aging effects!
As you can imagine, I was both astounded and intrigued by how resveratrol benefits our health—and this began my journey to learn as much about resveratrol as possible. And while my quest to discover and share health-promoting ingredients have now led me to the corners of the world, resveratrol remains at the foundation of my daily supplement routine for optimal health.
So, I want to revisit one of the major foundations of health and beauty with you and share about this amazing molecule, including how it's been shown to do everything from boost energy to support longevity and even help shrink fat cells!
What Is Resveratrol?
Before we dive into the amazing ways resveratrol benefits your health, let’s discuss exactly what resveratrol is and how it works. Resveratrol is the polyphenol or, as I like to call it, the “powerphenol” found in red wine that is a powerful anti-aging antioxidant. Resveratrol helps to explain the French Paradox (i.e., why people in France can indulge in rich, decadent food, yet remain thin and not have the metabolic disease of their American counterparts). The answer, it seems, is in the glass (or two) of resveratrol-rich wine.
Resveratrol is found naturally in almost 70 plants and fruits such as blueberries, blackberries, grapes, and even peanuts and cocoa/dark chocolate. That said, it’s most often associated with red wine (because of the high amounts of resveratrol found in the skin of the grapes), with Pinot Noir and St. Laurent grape varieties boasting the highest levels. Resveratrol is well absorbed by humans, but its bioavailability is relatively low because it is rapidly metabolized and eliminated.
Interestingly, research has shown that resveratrol—often in conjunction with turmeric and berberine—can help to regulate certain biochemical pathways in the body that are involved in many different diseases. This ability explains why resveratrol benefits your health in so many ways. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most incredible and popular benefits of this powerphenol!
6 Health Benefits of Resveratrol
So, what are the benefits of resveratrol? If you’re looking to learn what all resveratrol is good for, this is the section for you! Let’s dive into six of the top health benefits of resveratrol.
1. Boosts energy
If you find yourself asking what are the benefits of resveratrol for metabolic health, you’re going to be excited to learn that this powerphenol is known to boost energy levels. In fact, research has shown that consuming resveratrol can actually mimic restricting calories, leading to not only improved exercise performance but also insulin sensitivity by increasing your energy expenditure (the amount of energy your body uses to perform everyday functions—resulting in greater calorie burn!).
Studies have shown that resveratrol benefits your waistline ultimately because it modulates certain protein targets within central energy pathways to increase your energy expenditure, thereby boosting the function and growth of your mitochondria. It’s also been shown to help activate the metabolic master switch known as AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase).
2. Supports satiety
Resveratrol is also a good compound to consume if you’re looking to support satiety and cut down on in-between-meal snacking. Here’s why: Resveratrol benefits your gut microbiota in a manner that affects central energy metabolism, which can lead to modifications of your satiety hormones.
Additionally, several studies have shown that resveratrol may help change the gut microbiome in people categorized as obese so that their gut microbiome resembles that of someone of a normal body weight. This is incredible news, as it shows promising results in the management of clinical symptoms associated with early type 2 diabetes.
3. Promotes healthy gut bacteria
As I just shared, consuming resveratrol has been linked an increase in the diversity of healthy bacteria in the gut. Specifically, studies have shown that consuming red wine was correlated to a healthier gut microbiome. Interestingly, the study was performed on female twins, and the researchers found that twins who drank red wine at a frequency of at least two categories above their co-twins had significantly higher bacteria diversity in their gut microbiome.
Researchers concluded that even rare consumption of red wine could be sufficient to increase diversity. They also showed this could contribute to some other health benefits associated with red wine consumption, such as improvement of cholesterol metabolism and reduced risk of obesity.
Another exciting benefit of resveratrol is its ability to improve gut barrier function, meaning it can play a role in reducing leaky gut syndrome, also known as intestinal permeability. Leaky gut is a syndrome in which gaps in the intestinal walls allow bacteria and other toxins to pass through the intestines and into the bloodstream. But, according to research, resveratrol can improve the integrity of the proteins in the junction of cells that help to maintain a strong gut barrier.
4. May fight inflammation
Hands down, inflammation is one of the greatest threats to our overall health. This happens as our bodies try to fight damage caused on the inside. Fortunately, there are numerous ways we can fight inflammation, from preventing it from happening in the first place to addressing the inflammation when it does happen.
Resveratrol benefits your body as an antioxidant that can help prevent damaging inflammation while also helping to activate autophagy, which is the body’s self-cleaning process that helps repair cellular damage.
Resveratrol also has been shown to activate a protein that protects against oxidative damage caused by inflammation while also serving as an effective scavenger of damaging free radicals, thereby helping to decrease damaging inflammation.
5. Supports cardiovascular function
The “secret” to the French paradox comes from the strength that resveratrol can give to our entire cardiovascular system. While there have been thousands of studies conducted on resveratrol, it all started with the research done to investigate resveratrol benefits for cardiovascular health.
The studies showed that resveratrol has the ability to decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol). This is important because LDL is the cholesterol that plays a role in the formation of plaque that can block arteries, while HDL helps to clear this plaque.
Remember, an important part of having a strong cardiovascular system is about leveraging things that can help to keep your blood vessels clear—and that’s where resveratrol comes in.
For example, numerous studies have shown that resveratrol benefits include decreasing blood pressure while also improving various structures and functions within the heart that can improve blood flow and pressure.
6. Promotes longevity
Staying youthful isn’t just about how you look and how much energy you have: It’s also about how you’re able to protect your most precious biological assets—against age, damage, and the natural wear and tear that happens as part of living. And when it comes to precious assets, your brain certainly is at the top of the list.
Resveratrol has an amazing power as an antioxidant to cross the blood-brain barrier (this is a tricky thing to do because it exists for the very purpose of keeping things out). The effect is that resveratrol can help increase blood flow in the brain, cool inflammation in the brain, and provide other youth-enhancing benefits. It even stimulates the growth and development of neurons and blood vessels, which is key to our well-being—especially considering that unhealthy neurons are often tied to memory-related diseases.
Resveratrol’s ability to combat many threats to our cells can help slow down the overall aging process. Specifically, it can neutralize free radicals, which can harm DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, resulting in damage to otherwise healthy cells. But that’s not all.
Research has also shown that consuming resveratrol has noticeable positive effects, so if you’ve been wondering about the benefits of resveratrol for skin, you’ll want to pay special attention to this. Participants who took part in the two studies even found improvements in their skin and a newfound glow!
One study tested the effects on whether the benefits of resveratrol for skin could include decreasing skin imperfections. Participants were instructed to apply topical resveratrol, in gel form, for 30 consecutive days, and to take note of any before and after changes. From spots to clarity, results showed acne decreased by roughly 55 percent.
Another study tested the benefits of resveratrol for skin in the form of a resveratrol supplement. In the study, women ingested the supplement orally over the course of 60 days and reported noticeable positive changes in their skin, experiencing more moisture, better texture, increased elasticity, and a reduction in age spots! Those are some amazing resveratrol benefits for your skin and definitely a reason to consider either supplementing with resveratrol or, at the very least, eating more resveratrol-containing foods.
Top Resveratrol Foods
Now that you know how resveratrol benefits your health, let’s discuss what foods are high in resveratrol.
Some of the top resveratrol foods you can eat include red wine, red grapes, blueberries, dark chocolate, and peanuts—all delicious and somewhat indulgent choices you’re sure to enjoy.
When craving something sweet, consider making the most of your resveratrol foods by including in these delicious chocolate-based Brownie Bombs or this AvoCacao Mint Smoothie. You can even add cacao to sauces, such as a mole sauce, or you can add it to coffees such as this Peppermint Mocha Keto Coffee.
Another delicious option is this Summer Sangria featuring not only red wine but also a resveratrol supplement for maximum bioavailability and resveratrol benefits.
Products Featuring Resveratrol
Speaking of maximum bioavailability, while resveratrol was traditionally consumed in the foods listed above, it can be hard to get enough resveratrol through food alone for maximum health benefits. To get the therapeutic dosages used in studies, taking a resveratrol supplement is often necessary. In fact, you would have to consume about 500 glasses of red wine to get the amount of resveratrol used in certain studies (which is a resveratrol dosage of at least 250 mg per day.)
So, what is the best resveratrol supplement? When choosing a resveratrol supplement, or any supplement for that matter, quality is key and resveratrol-trans is the form to look for as far as both stability and effectiveness. Discuss with your doctor whether you should begin with a lower dosage of 250 mg or a higher dosage of 500 mg.
Resveratrol Side Effects
Now that you know all about resveratrol and why taking a resveratrol supplement may be the right decision for you, you may be wondering if resveratrol can be harmful or if there are any side effects of taking it.
Fortunately, resveratrol side effects are rare, even when taken in quite large dosages. As a result, it’s generally regarded as safe. That said, if you have an allergy to grapes or if you’re taking prescription medication, it’s best to speak with your doctor first, even if it’s just to determine when to take resveratrol during the day in consideration of your diet, possible medication interactions, and lifestyle.