Resveratrol has been in the news for its heart-health benefits for years. It is believed to help support a healthy cardiovascular system and protect against a wide variety of health concerns. New research on the health benefits of resveratrol suggests that, aside from its benefits to cardiovascular health, resveratrol may benefit your entire body through a mechanism that supports the healthy cellular inflammatory processes that are often thrown out of whack by our stressful modern life.
The Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Resveratrol is a plant compound found in grapes and red wine, as well as some nuts and berries. It is a natural antioxidant made by plants when they are under attack, whether from an insect or an illness. Although the foods containing this micronutrient are delicious, most people in the Western world do not get enough of it in their diets. This is unfortunate, because people who don’t get enough resveratrol may be missing out on some incredible health benefits.
Doctors have long known that supplementing with this natural plant compound can help to protect against certain cardiovascular concerns which can eventually lead to devastating heart attack or stroke. In addition, it can help support healthy cellular inflammatory processes in your body. This can affect your health in a variety of ways because inflammation is often a hidden contributor to many of the most common and most-feared illnesses of our times.
What’s the Big Deal With Inflammation?
Many people associate inflammation with an infection, but it actually can be present even without microorganisms or viruses. In fact, new research suggests that inflammation may be a major cause of almost every type of disease in the human body. Chronic low-grade inflammation is one cause of atherosclerosis and thus heart disease and stroke. However, it also may contribute to the development of diabetes, cancer, and chronic diseases of all kinds.
How can inflammation cause so much damage? When our bodies suffer an insult of any kind, be it a microbe or a toxic food preservative, it sets off a reaction. There is more blood flow to the area, more inflammatory molecules and more immune cells such as T-cells. These cells can help to fight off an infection, but when they are chronically present they damage our own cells. Chronic inflammation can be so subtle it is missed entirely until we begin to develop chronic illness. In the case of atherosclerosis, the vessel gradually hardens because of the constant inflammation, the way our feet and hands can form calluses. These rough spots on the inside of the vessel are prone to cracking and also clot formation. Eventually, the atherosclerosis is enough to completely block the vessel, which is when disease occurs.
Protecting Against Inflammation the Natural Way
There are many ways that you can change your lifestyle to reduce the occurrence of inflammation and thus help protect against the diseases that it can cause. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and omega-3 fish oils is a delicious way to protect against inflammation. In addition, you can enjoy green tea or an occasional glass of red wine, both natural antioxidants. These are both better choices than sweetened beverages like colas that can increase inflammation. Getting enough sleep is also important because this is the time when your body performs critical repairs of cell damage that have occurred throughout the day. Last, taking the time to de-stress through yoga and meditation will help lower inflammation levels while improving your outlook on life.
Healthy eating and positive habits are important in reducing inflammation. However, inflammation does not have to negatively affect your health, even if you don’t always maintain the healthiest diet. According to a recent study, a substance found in grapes called resveratrol can help to reduce or even eliminate the effects of eating an unhealthy diet. Monkeys who are fed a high-fat and high-sugar diet tend to have muscles that become fatigued quickly. Adding a resveratrol supplement to their otherwise unhealthy diet led to less fatigue and inflammation in the muscles, partially compensating for the cost of a poor diet. This indicates that one of the health benefits of resveratrol may be that little “cheats” don’t have as large of an effect on your tissues, including the delicate tissues in your heart.
The health benefits of resveratrol may be just what someone people need to withstand the negative effects of modern life. While it’s important to try to eat healthily and lower your risk of inflammation through lifestyle changes, supplementing with this grape derivative can help you to get the boost you need to feel and be healthier over your lifetime.