How Much Red Wine Do You Need to Get Enough Resveratrol?

Grapes, as well as certain other plants, produce resveratrol as a self-defense response to damage, disease or other stress. This compound develops primarily in the grape skin. Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine because the grape skins remain on longer during the process of making red wine. While drinking moderate amounts of red wine may benefit your health, counting milligrams of resveratrol may not be worth your time.

Red wine contains more resveratrol than white wine does. (Image: @reinasierra via Twenty20)

Recommended Resveratrol Dosage

Because resveratrol isn't an essential nutrient, no required amount exists. Animal studies suggest as much as 500 mg daily may be necessary to provide any health benefits. Red wine contains at most 12.59 mg resveratrol per liter, so to get 500 mg daily, you'd need to drink almost 40 liters of wine daily. A 40 mg daily dose of resveratrol may also have some benefits, showed a study published in the "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism" in June 2010. Even if a 40 mg daily dose is sufficient, you'd still need to drink a little over 3 liters of wine daily to get that much resveratrol.

Safe Amounts of Wine

Drinking any alcohol in moderation may have some health benefits, including a 20 to 30 percent lower risk of coronary artery disease, note experts from Oregon State University. Too much alcohol carries health risks, though, so most health experts advise a limit of two drinks daily for men and one drink daily for women. That works out to 10 oz. of wine daily for men and 5 oz. of wine daily for women. If you're pregnant or have a heart condition, avoid alcohol altogether.

Resveratrol for Health

As an antioxidant, resveratrol helps protect cells from damage by free radicals, which are potentially harmful atoms and molecules that occur naturally in the environment. Results of test tube and animal studies suggests resveratrol may raise HDL, or good, cholesterol, protect blood vessels from damage, prevent blood clots and reduce risk of diabetes, notes MayoClinic.com. It may also inhibit the growth of cancer cells. No evidence shows conclusively that resveratrol reduces risk of coronary heart disease or cancer, however.

Sources of Resveratrol

The richest sources of resveratrol are red wines, which average between 1.98 and 7.13 mg resveratrol per liter. The next best source is Spanish red grape juice, which contains 1.14 to 8.69 mg resveratrol per liter, even more than most rose or white wines. Fresh red grapes and boiled peanuts are also relatively rich sources of resveratrol, but they contain significantly less of this compound than does red wine. On average, resveratrol dietary supplements contain between 10 to 50 mg resveratrol.

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