Grapes can help lower cholesterol because they contain resveratrol, the highly touted plant compound found in both red and green grapes.
Resveratrol supplements have many exciting health benefits, including brain function and the reduction of blood pressure.
Here are 6 health benefits of resveratrol supplements
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1. Inhibits Cancer Cells
However, resveratrol’s benefits in cancer prevention are complex. For example,
- It can prevent the replication and spread of cancer cells (8).
- It can change the genes expression in cancer cells to prevent their development (9).
- Can interact with how other hormones are expressed and prevent hormone-dependent cancers (10).
Since these studies were conducted in test tubes and with animals, we need more research to see if this compound could be used as a human cancer therapy.
2. Protects the Brain
This can be because of resveratrol’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It appears to interfere with protein fragments called beta-amyloids, crucial to the formation of plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (14).
In addition, it can set a chain of events up by the compound to protect brain cells from damage. While this research is exciting, scientists still have questions about how well the human body can make use of the additional resveratrol, limiting its immediate use as a brain-protecting supplement.
3. Lowers Blood Pressure
A 2015 study concluded high doses can help reduce pressure on the artery walls (15).
Resveratrol can lower blood pressure because of its antioxidant properties. Typically, systolic blood pressure increases with age as the arteries stiffen.
However, the authors of this study say that more research is needed.
4. Increases Insulin Sensitivity
One way resveratrol functions is that it can interrupt the conversion of glucose into sorbitol, which can cause cell-damaging oxidative stress when too much sorbitol builds up in people with diabetes (21, 22).
Here are some examples of how resveratrol benefits you.
- Its antioxidant compounds can protect against oxidative stress.
- Can reduce inflammation, a key contributor to chronic diseases, including diabetes.
- Activates AMPK, a protein that maintains low levels of blood sugar.
Resveratrol can provide people with diabetes even more benefits than those who don’t have it.
In one animal study, red wine and resveratrol for rats with diabetes were reportedly more effective than in rats without diabetes (23).
Researchers say it may treat diabetes and its complications, but we need more studies.
5. Relieves Joint Pain
Arthritis is a common affliction that causes mobility problems and joint pain (24). Plant-based supplements are being studied to treat joint pain.
Resveratrol may help protect cartilage from deterioration when taken as a supplement (25).
The breakdown of cartilage can cause joint pain and is one of the major arthritis symptoms.
In one study, injecting resveratrol into the knee joints of rabbits with arthritis decreased weakness in the cartilage of these rabbits.
6. Influences Blood Fat
A 2016 study fed a mouse with a high-protein and high-polyunsaturated fat diet and also supplied them with resveratrol supplements (29).
Researchers found that the mice’s average total cholesterol and body weight levels dropped, and their “good” HDL cholesterol levels increased.
Several animal studies have suggested that supplements of resveratrol may change blood lipids (30).
Resveratrol appears to influence levels of cholesterol by reducing the effect of an enzyme that controls the production of cholesterol. It can also reduce the oxidation of bad LDL cholesterol as an antioxidant (31).
In the artery walls, LDL oxidation contributes to plaque buildup. In one study, participants consumed grape extract with extra resveratrol (32).
Their LDL had dropped by 4.5 percent after six months of treatment, and their oxidized LDL had dropped by 20 percent compared to those taking an unenriched grape extract or placebo.
Resveratrol is a powerful, high-potential antioxidant that has many health benefits, including improved heart and joint function. However, there is still a lack of clear guidance on dosage.