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Antioxidant Found in Wine May Benefit Brain Health

A new study from the UK found that resveratrol may increase blood flow to the brain, an important addition to the growing health properties of this compound.

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant found most abundantly in grape skins. The chemical is also present in cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries, but in smaller amounts.

The researchers, from the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Center at Northumbria University, published their findings in the April 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

22 healthy adults participated in the study and were assigned to one of three groups. One group received a placebo, one received 250 mg of resveratrol and the final group received 500 mg of resveratrol.

The researchers measured blood flow to the brain for a 36 minute period 45 minutes after the participants were given the dose.

They found that participants given the highest dose of resveratrol had a significant increase in cerebral blood flow. Those given the lower dose also saw increases but to a lesser degree. The researchers observed no increase among the participants in the placebo group.

The researchers say these findings are important, as decreased blood flow to the brain is a risk factor for the development of dementia.

Previous studies have linked resveratrol with a number of health benefits including helping with increasing energy levels, regulating blood glucose levels in diabetics, better brain health, lower risk of lung cancer, improving metabolism, and improved liver function.

Although resveratrol is abundant in wine, these findings should not be an excuse to drink more alcohol. Drinking 1-2 glasses a night appears to provide significant health benefits. Once you get beyond that, those benefits are quickly offset.

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