Resveratrol supplements — an antioxidant in wine, cocoa and berries — have been around for years, and women have long reported that they help make slimming down easier. But now, breakthrough technology has made them so much better that more than 100 studies are underway on the new versions. “Looking at the research so far, resveratrol has unprecedented promise for helping people control their weight,” notes James Smoliga, PhD, a nutrition expert at Tufts University School of Medicine. If you’re looking to trim down with ease, keep reading to learn how you can get the benefits of resveratrol for weight loss.
What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a naturally occurring compound that you can find in foods like red grapes and peanuts. While you can get a dose from a glass of wine, the healthy benefits kick in at higher concentrations that you get from a supplement.
Resveratrol does lots of good things inside us. For example, National Institutes of Health research found the antioxidant soothes health-dampening inflammation and helps lower cholesterol. Multiple university tests show it protects our brain and memory. Meanwhile, a University of Texas team found it blocks enzymes that damage cells, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. And that’s just for starters. (Click through to learn how resveratrol can help you avoid osteoporosis drugs, plus other bone-healthy tips.)
How resveratrol boosts weight loss
Excitement about resveratrol weight loss first started after a famous Harvard study found that the antioxidant helped reverse the effects of overeating among fat mice. Their cells suddenly turned more food into energy. Plus, their blood sugar and insulin improved dramatically and they went on to live long, healthy lives.
Scientists around the world have been trying to explain these resveratrol weight loss findings ever since. Hints and theories abound, but recent tests have focused on beneficial bacteria that live in our digestive tracts and trigger everything from reduced hunger to faster metabolism. University of Alberta scientists now have evidence that resveratrol stimulates a significant increase in slimming strains of these bacteria. And that’s a big deal since “an abundance of slimming bacteria is often the only factor setting a naturally lean person apart from a heavy one,” according to A-List Diet author and resveratrol proponent Fred Pescatore, MD. (Click through to learn why Dr. Pescatore also recommends eggs for weight loss.)
There’s more: “Studies show that resveratrol boosts your muscles’ ability to absorb glucose from food. This means that more calories go into muscles and fewer go into fat cells,” says Smoliga. So energy increases as fat stores shrink, and resveratrol keeps delivering: University of Georgia experiments found that treating fat cells with resveratrol reduces cells’ ability to store fat by nearly 80% and causes them to disintegrate altogether at a higher rate than normal.
How much resveratrol to take for weight loss
Most experts recommend a dose of 150 to 250 mg. of resveratrol a day — significantly more than you can get from food. (Red wine is the richest source, with no more than 13 mg. per bottle.) Choose a supplement labeled trans-resveratrol, the most potent form.
A great option that enhances the effect: “Research shows that resveratrol works even better when combined with other antioxidants,” says Smoliga. So enjoy a diet rich in antioxidant-rich plant foods — even popcorn and cold breakfast cereal are great sources — and consider a multi-antioxidant supplement. Adds Dr. Pescatore: “It’s such an easy thing to do, and the benefits are often amazing!”
Resveratrol weight loss success story: Shelli Appelbaum, 48
Food lover Shelli Appelbaum has been fighting spare pounds as long as she can remember. “You name the program, I’ve done it,” laughs the Florida guidance counselor, 48. So when she heard about resveratrol, “I did some research. It seemed safe and natural and I figured why not?” She ordered supplements and started taking 250 mg. daily.
“I had any healthy food I wanted — fruit, veggies, wheat bread, steak,” recalls Shelli, who ate three small meals and three small snacks a day. “In two weeks, I was down 10 pounds!” Steadily losing 42 pounds over seven months, her prediabetes and high cholesterol vanished. “I had more energy during the day and I slept better at night. And when the holidays rolled around, I went to parties and had treats. I still kept losing.” Down from a size 14 to an 8, Shelli now has this advice for other women: “Just do it! If your experience is anything like mine, you’ll get healthier without having to work so hard. There’s no better gift to give yourself!”
Resveratrol-rich meals for weight loss
Amping up the power of a resveratrol supplement is easy — and delicious! Just enjoy resveratrol-rich foods like chocolate, berries, nuts and wine with foods rich in any antioxidant (fruit, veggies, seeds, even cereal and popcorn). We’ve got fun options for you to try here. As always, get a doctor’s okay before taking any new supplement.
Festive Smoothie Bowl: Blend 1 frozen banana, ½ cup kale, ¼ avocado, ½ cup plant milk and ice to taste; add fun toppings like berries, nuts and coconut.
Super Party Mix: Use your favorite party mix recipe, replacing ½ cup pretzels or bagel chips with antioxidant-rich wasabi peas or pumpkin seeds.
Mulled Wine: Mix 1 bottle dry red wine, 1 sliced orange and ¼ cup mulling spices; simmer 10 minutes. Strain; serve hot.
Bonus recipe: Secretly slimming choco-nut candy
- 2 (3.5 oz.) good-quality chocolate bars, any variety
- 1 cup roasted nuts, plain or salted
- ½ cup dried fruit, such as raisins, cranberries and goji berries
Break chocolate into squares and microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until just melted and smooth. Divide evenly in a silicone candy mold or a lined mini-muffin pan, smoothing with a spoon. Top with nuts and fruit. Freeze to set. Makes about 24 candies
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.
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