According to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, some of the benefits of regular exercise can be mimicked by the naturally occurring antioxidant resveratrol.
Principal investigator Jason Dyck and his team found out in lab experiments with rats that high doses of this natural compound improved physical performance, heart function and muscle strength.
“We were excited when we saw that resveratrol showed results similar to what you would see from extensive endurance exercise training,” says Jason Dyck, who works in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry as a researcher in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Pharmacology. “We immediately saw the potential for this and thought that we identified ‘improved exercise performance in a pill.’”
Too bad the tests were conducted on lab rats. According to the Mayo Clinic, most research on resveratrol has been done on animals, not people. Also, “to get the same dose of resveratrol used in the mice studies, a person would have to drink over 60 liters of red wine every day,” the Mayo Clinic says. Good luck not falling asleep before finishing your dosage!
The study says that adding a resveratrol supplement to your endurance exercise training could enhance your performance. Mayo Clinic says that “while researchers haven’t found any harm in taking resveratrol supplements, most of the resveratrol in the supplements can’t be absorbed by your body.”
Hmmm … well, it’s worth a shot. While you can buy a resveratrol supplement at your local pharmacy, it’s always best to get vitamins from food sources — and it’s way more yummy! Here’s a short list of the best foods for your resveratrol fix:
Red wine: Red wine contains, at most, 12.59 mg resveratrol per liter, according to Peanuts.
Grapes/grape juice: Spanish red grape juice in particular contains 1.14 mg to 8.69 mg of resveratrol per liter,
Berries: Especially blueberries, bilberries and cranberries. Less than 10% of the resveratrol of grapes, but healthy and delicious treats!
Boiled peanuts: One cup of boiled peanuts will get you up to 1.28 mg of resveratrol.
Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate can have up to 18.5 mcg of resveratrol per serving.
Read the study in its entirety here.