Resveratrol and Brain Health

Woman having red wine

What would you think if you were told that your evening glass of wine could help your memory stay keen as you age? As it happens, there are hypotheses circulating suggesting that resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes that’s abundant in red wine and grape juice, might be able to keep your brain healthy even as you age. Of course, caution and healthy skepticism are always valuable boons when dealing with anything that sounds like it might be too good to be true, so let’s examine these ideas carefully.

Claims
The purported benefits of resveratrol for the brain tend to revolve around improvement of memory, or at the very least, prevention of memory degradation. More specifically, this would mean that regular consumption of resveratrol might help one create, retain, and recall memories better. Some claims also tout resveratrol as helping general cognitive processing and function, meaning that it might help you process information faster and have clearer and sharper thoughts in general (cut away mental “fog,” so to speak).

Studies
There have actually been a couple clinical studies done on this phenomenon, and while further testing is necessary to confirm that resveratrol makes for an effective treatment or supplemental treatment, the results are promising. Trials done on both animals and human volunteers indicate that resveratrol might be able to improve memory retention and function. Evidence supporting resveratrol helping with generalized cognitive function and processing, however, has scant anecdotal evidence at best; it certainly might help, but we don’t know for sure yet and won’t know without further studies.

The Takeaway
In short, there’s enough evidence supporting resveratrol having at least a couple beneficial effects on long term health of the brain, so while we don’t have the full picture just yet, we know enough to say that at worst, it’s harmless and might only help a little, and at best, it might help a lot. So don’t treat regular consumption of resveratrol as a cure-all or stop seeing your doctor (please, please keep going to your doctor appointments and keeping them up to date on everything that concerns your health), but go ahead and sip that red wine, and toast to your good health.

Tips and Tricks
Remember, of course, that you should still moderate alcohol consumption, even if it is red wine you’re drinking. A good habit is to limit yourself to one drink a day on an average day, only exceeding this on special occasions and social outings (ideally no more than once a week, and still only 2-4 drinks in that case).

Further, you don’t actually need to consume alcohol to get antioxidants, so if you’re trying to cut back or recovering from an addiction, never fear. Red grape juice, pomegranate juice, and dark chocolate are just a few good non-alcoholic sources of antioxidants. In general, dark, leafy greens and especially dark fruits are your best bets.

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