You’ve likely heard about it in the news – resveratrol – the heart healthy compound found in red wine. But what exactly is it and why is it good for cardiovascular health? Resveratrol is a compound of molecules that comes from some seed producing plants. Resveratrol is plentiful in the skins and peels of grapes and is found in both white and red wine, but in much greater quantity in the red varieties. The compounds are thought to have antioxidant properties that protect the body against damage.
Multiple studies on mice have shown that resveratrol may have a number of heart-healthy benefits, such as preventing damage to blood vessels, decreasing clots, lowering cholesterol, hindering inflammation and warding off stroke.
A 2015 review concluded that high doses of resveratrol may help reduce the pressure exerted on artery walls when the heart beats. That type of pressure is called systolic blood pressure and appears as the upper number in blood pressure readings. Systolic blood pressure typically goes up with age, as arteries stiffen. When high, it becomes a risk factor for heart disease. Resveratrol may accomplish this blood-pressure-lowering effect by helping to produce more nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to relax.
Here are four good food sources of resveratrol:
Red Grapes – they don’t have to be fermented (like in wine) to contain this antioxidant. It’s actually found in the skin of red grapes along with other nutrients, such as minerals manganese and potassium and vitamins K, C and B1.
Peanut Butter – it’s great for dipping apples and celery, but it also contains some resveratrol (up to .13 mg per cup). Peanut butter is also a good source of niacin and manganese.
Dark Chocolate – dark chocolate is full of antioxidants including resveratrol. It also contains minerals, such as iron, copper and manganese. And who doesn’t love chocolate?
Blueberries – they don’t have quite as much resveratrol as grapes, but they are also a great source of other antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamins C and K and manganese.