“Drinking a Glass of Red Wine is as Healthy as an Hour at the Gym”, so announced a popular newspaper in the UK earlier this year. Really, you mean I can ditch my fitness regime and drink a glass of wine instead? Um, no, it’s not as simple as that, but what claims like this are touching on, and hence why we often link red wine to health, is the powerful benefits of antioxidants, and one in particular. Resveratrol.
Antioxidants are one of the first lines of defense that the body employs to keep free radicals in check and prevent them from causing a domino effect of damage on other cells. And, although early days, there is a growing body of research that links calorie restriction to a longer life, with resveratrol playing a key role. SIRT1, a gene found in humans and other mammals, helps to promote survival by protecting cells during times when food, and therefore energy, is scarce. Resveratrol has been found to be the most common naturally occurring activator, to switch on this gene, thus mimicking scarcity without us having to starve. So, help us live a long life plus protect us from disease, quite the magic antioxidant. What additional benefits does a diet rich in antioxidants provide? Amongst others it includes:
- A Sharp Memory and Protection Against Alzheimer’s Disease
- Boosted Endurance and Muscular Strength
- A Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
So what foods are rich in resveratrol? Red wine tops the list, followed by the skin of red grapes, peanut butter, dark chocolate and blueberries. You can also supplement it. Supplements have been popular since 2006, when studies in animals showed life-extending and endurance-enhancing effects, and there is now a wide-range available, including capsules, liquids, and tablets.
A year ago I started taking a liquid supplement called Reserve, which contains 185mg of resveratrol (a litre of red wine contains just between 2-7mg). It comes in a gel format, which allows it to be absorbed faster than a capsule, and I drink one a day before I eat my breakfast. As well as containing red grapes, other fruits rich in antioxidants; pomegranate, acai and blueberry, cherry and green tea, it has been proven to penetrate the cellular membrane so the health benefits can be more effective.
I took blood tests before I started taking Reserve and have had further checks during the course of the year. The biggest impact that I have noticed; apart from increased energy and stamina, a sense of well being and a sharper memory, have been a reduction of uric acid from 7.3 down to 0.3 and a significant decrease in my cholesterol levels.
Umm… but a glass or two of my favourite red; Marqués de Cáceres Gran Reserve from the Rioja region of Spain accompanied with Green and Blacks organic dark chocolate, both resveratrol rich, surely I can afford to miss that extra hour at the gym?
Natalie Turner is the Founder of Energise Life a lifestyle brand that promotes the new science of healthy aging: www.energiselife.jeuensseglobal.com. She is also the Founder and CEO of an innovation company called Entheo Network and runs leadership retreats for women in beautiful resorts across South East Asia.
For more healthy living tips check out our Health section.