Resveratrol is a polyphenol found in a variety of foods that's been studied for its health benefits. But research on this antioxidant has led to mixed results.
Only some plant foods contain resveratrol (so you won't find this compound in animal foods). Some plants make resveratrol as a way to protect themselves against fungal infection, ultraviolet radiation, injury and stress, per Harvard Health Publishing.
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While researchers have found that resveratrol can help prevent skin cancer, protect against heart disease or improve insulin sensitivity in rodents, the amount used in these studies tends to be much larger than one person could actually consume — and the benefits of resveratrol have not been proven in humans.
But considering foods high in the polyphenol resveratrol are all plant-based, it doesn't hurt to eat more of them. Opting for a low-fat plant-based diet is associated with increasing the body's metabolism and reducing excess body fat, per a November 2020 study in JAMA Network Open.
Check out the list below for foods that contain the most resveratrol.
Is There an Official Resveratrol Dosage?
There is no daily value for resveratrol, though supplement dosing for this compound varies widely. It’s important to speak to your doctor before starting any new supplements. Remember, it’s typically best for most people to get healthy nutrients from food.
Both peanuts and peanut butter pack resveratrol, per the Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute. While 1 cup of boiled peanuts contains 0.32 to 1.28 milligrams of resveratrol, a cup of peanut butter contains 0.04 to 0.13 milligrams of resveratrol.
Pistachios are also a source of resveratrol, per Harvard Health Publishing.
You'll also get 6.9 grams of healthy monounsaturated fats and 3.7 grams of polyunsaturated fats per ounce of dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios, per the USDA. Opt for the unsalted variety to keep your sodium in check.
Red grapes contain 0.24 to 1.25 milligrams of resveratrol per cup, per Oregon State University.
Resveratrol is found only in the skin of grapes. The amount of resveratrol in grapes depends on the grape cultivar, where it originated and its exposure to fungal infection.
4. Red Wine
Wine provides resveratrol per cup in varying amounts, per Oregon State University.
On average, pinot noir has the highest resveratrol content with 3.6 milligrams per liter. It's closely followed by merlot, Zweigelt, Shiraz and cabernet sauvignon.
That said, it's not a reason to start drinking wine if you don't already — researchers found no connection between resveratrol levels and longevity in a July 2014 JAMA Internal Medicine study of older adults in the Chianti region of Italy.
Blueberries are another healthy source of resveratrol, per Harvard Health Publishing. Exactly how much resveratrol is in blueberries will depend on the type and origin — for instance, while highbush blueberries from Michigan contained resveratrol, those from British Columbia did not, per a classic August 2003 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Plus, blueberries are called out in the MIND Diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), an eating plan that aims to lower the risk of brain health decline and Alzheimer's disease. The MIND diet recommends two or more servings of berries weekly and notes that blueberries could be particularly helpful, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Try the fruit in these healthy blueberry breakfast recipes.
Cranberries are a healthy source of resveratrol, per Oregon State University. You'll also find 17 percent of the DV for vitamin C and 4 grams of heart-healthy fiber per cup raw.
Bilberries are a less commonly known source of resveratrol, per Oregon State University.
The dark berries on the bilberry bush (which is native to northern parts of Europe and Asia, the northern United States and Canada) resemble blueberries — and the plant has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Some research shows that bilberries may reduce gum inflammation and bleeding or improve eye fatigue, but more high-quality clinical trials are needed to confirm this, per the NIH.
8. Cocoa and Dark Chocolate
Chocolate products are often heralded for their resveratrol, but as with wine, moderation is key. Some research has linked moderate chocolate intake with a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, per the Cleveland Clinic.
That said, chocolate can be high in calories, saturated fat and sugar — and eating too much of it can lead to weight gain, which can cause its own health issues.
Enjoy the bean in these cozy hot chocolate recipes.
The Resveratrol-Estrogen Link, Explained
Cell culture experiments have shown that resveratrol can act either as an estrogen agonist (enhancing estrogen activity) or estrogen antagonist (inhibiting estrogen activity). It depends on factors such as cell type, estrogen receptor type and the presence of endogenous estrogens (which may play a role in cancer), per Oregon State University.
Resveratrol's side effects are still unknown, particularly when it comes to people with certain cancers, those trying to become pregnant or taking oral contraceptives, per Harvard Health Publishing. That’s another reason why it’s so important to talk to a doctor before starting a new supplement.
- Harvard Medical School: "Diet rich in resveratrol offers no health boost"
- JAMA Network Open: "Effect of a Low-Fat Vegan Diet on Body Weight, Insulin Sensitivity, Postprandial Metabolism, and Intramyocellular and Hepatocellular Lipid Levels in Overweight Adults"
- Oregon State University Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Center: "Resveratrol"
- MyFoodData: "Dry Roasted Peanuts"
- MyFoodData: "Dry Roasted Pistachio Nuts"
- JAMA Internal Medicine: "Resveratrol Levels and All-Cause Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Adults"
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Resveratrol in Raw and Baked Blueberries and Bilberries"
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: "The MIND Diet"
- MyFoodData: "Cranberries"
- National Institutes of Health: "Bilberry"
- Cleveland Clinic: "Red Wine vs. Dark Chocolate: Which Is Healthier?"