Resveratrol, a chemical produced by plants as a defense mechanism, might be the beneficial compound in red wine. This compound may improve the body’s anti-aging response, and in turn quality of life, according to a National Institute on Aging/Harvard Medical School joint study. Other studies have found that resveratrol lengthens lifespan in insects, fish, and yeast. It also improves the health of mice on a fat-laden diet.
In the study, the researchers gave a resveratrol supplement, once a day, to mice on both normal and calorie-restricted diets. The animals on the lower-calorie diet lived a lot longer than those on a “normal” diet, and showed less aging-related mental and physical deterioration. They also had fewer incidences of disease and stress. The mice on the normal diet experienced increased vigor and vitality over the length of the study, but they didn’t live any longer.
Resveratrol is found in high concentrations in the skins of red grapes, and also in red wine. It’s found in smaller amounts in peanut and walnut skins. Scientists aren’t sure if drinking red wine will produce the same benefits as taking a resveratrol supplement, because red wine contains a lot of other substances that have effects on the body. If resveratrol affects humans the same way it does mice, it may well be an anti-aging breakthrough!