Resveratrol: Whole Food Sources and Health Benefits of Resveratrol
You've probably heard the buzz about red wine's health benefits, due in part to its resveratrol content. But did you know that boiled peanuts are also a notable source of this nutrient? Berries, grapes, cocoa and a number of other whole foods can be just as delicious and high in resveratrol as that bottle of Burgundy. Surprising, indeed, but resveratrol does go beyond red wine.
Resveratrol belongs to a class of antioxidants called polyphenols. Resveratrol is naturally formed by some plants as a protective mechanism against injury, fungal infection or overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Scientists believe that, as an antioxidant, this extraordinary polyphenol may offer similar protective benefits to humans, helping defend against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that attack healthy cells, impairing their ability to function properly.
Resveratrol is a renowned dietary supplement on the market today and may benefit those that don't get sufficient nutrition through food alone. While the body produces some antioxidants on its own, supplements and nutrient-dense whole foods – including those rich in resveratrol – can support healthy cell function and overall health. Read on to learn which foods you should pile on your plate to reap the health benefits of resveratrol.
Resveratrol is found most highly concentrated in the skin and seeds of red grapes. Just one cup of red grapes in their whole food form contains between 0.24 and 1.25 mg of resveratrol, depending on the variety and origin. The richest source of resveratrol comes from the red grapes of Spain. Red grape juice made from Spanish grapes contains up to 1.30 mg of the polyphenol in just a 5-ounce glass. Since red wine is fermented in grape skins for some time, Spanish red wines have an even greater concentration of resveratrol than just the juice – up to 1.89 mg per 5-ounce glass.
It is widely known that nuts are high in unsaturated fats such as omega-3s, fiber and vitamin E, among other key nutrients. But boiled peanuts may not be getting all the credit they deserve. In just one cup of boiled peanuts, you'll get up to 1.28 mg of resveratrol – quite comparable to a glass of grape juice. When compared to dry roasted and raw peanuts without skin, the boiled kind contains the highest amounts of the antioxidant. Unfortunately, because roasted peanuts are typically heated after being shelled, their nutrient levels are negatively impacted. With skin and shell intact, boiled peanuts retain their resveratrol richness.
Deep-colored berries of the Vaccinum species are a good source of resveratrol. Blueberries, mulberries, bilberries and cranberries are all among this special breed of berries. Just like grapes, berries of a certain variety and place of origin have proven to be a better source of resveratrol than others. Bilberries from Poland and a particular variety of blueberries from Michigan are top-notch. Heating or baking with berries can compromise their antioxidant content, so stick with the fresh, organic kind. For a healthy breakfast, swap fruit-filled muffins for a bowl of oatmeal and raw blueberries.
Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powder
Your taste buds already enjoy dark chocolate; but can your health benefit as well? Cocoa-containing products have up to 18.5 mcg of resveratrol per serving – that's one-tenth the concentration of Spanish red wine. Although not considered significant sources of resveratrol, dark chocolate and cocoa powder are more concentrated than roasted peanuts and peanut butter. Perhaps pairing a piece of dark chocolate with a glass of pinot noir would be the best whole food form of resveratrol – it would certainly be the tastiest!
Note: This article has been provided by a guest author. It reflects the author's opinion and does not necessarily represent the opinion of HealWithFood.org.
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