Red wine, nuts and chocolate are not only good for the soul – they contain resveratrol, which means that they’re good for your bones.
Pour that glass of red wine, tuck into a block of delicious dark chocolate, and ditch the guilt – a little indulgence is good for you!
A new study has found that resveratrol, a natural anti-inflammatory compound found in red grapes, nuts and other foods, may contribute to better bone density and could be used to prevent or treat osteoporosis.
A Danish study, published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2014, found that resveratrol has a positive effect on bones by stimulating growth and mineralisation. The study examined 74 middle-aged, obese men with metabolic syndrome – a term used to describe people who have a number of risk factors for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
Previous research published in Bone in November 2013 found that men with metabolic syndrome are at risk of osteoporosis due to low-grade inflammation associated with the condition. For this study, the participants were split into three groups: one group receiving a high dose of resveratrol (1000mg), another group receiving a low dose (150mg) and the last group receiving a placebo each day for 16 weeks.
The results showed that both bone density and bone alkaline phosphatase (BAP) increased with resveratrol supplementation. BAP is a reliable indicator of bone remodelling and formation, according to Mayo Medical Laboratories. The increases were dependent on the doses, meaning that the participants on the highest dose of resveratrol showed the greatest increase in BAP and bone density.
Head researcher Dr Marie Juul Ørnstrup told Medscape.com that she believes these findings are applicable to more than just men with metabolic syndrome. Should this be true, resveratrol supplementation could be used to increase or maintain bone density, thus treating or preventing osteoporosis.
Other health benefits
While a lot more research on the topic is needed, an article published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science indicates that resveratrol has shown beneficial effects against a number of other conditions such as:
- Coronary heart disease
Which foods are good sources of resveratrol?
If you’re interested in boosting your resveratrol intake, the Livestrong Foundation suggests adding more of these foods to your diet:
- Red grapes, red grape juice and red wine
- Peanuts and peanut butter
- Berries such as cranberries, blueberries and pomegranates
- Dark chocolate
While this all sounds extremely promising, like anything, it’s important not to overdo it.
Harvard Health notes that very little is understood when it comes to the side effects of supplementing with resveratrol. They urge consumers to rather get their resveratrol the natural way – by increasing your intake of the foods listed above – than simply popping pills that contain extremely high doses.