The stilbenoids are a group of 2 phytonutrients (health boosting, plant based chemical compounds) – pterostilbene and resveratrol. They have been linked with cancer prevention, a reduced risk of heart disease and more. But just how valid are these claims? In this article I take a deeper look at these 2 stilbenoids and examine whether they really do live up to all the hype.
Pterostilbene can be mainly found in blueberries and grapes. It is a potent antioxidant that can keep your body’s cells safe from free radicals (harmful by-products that are released during oxygen related reactions).
Early evidence indicates that this stilbenoid may also act as an anti-inflammatory (a substance that prevents unnecessary inflammation in your body), prevent cancer (a disease where your body’s cells start to grow in a rapid, out of control way) and protect you from diabetes (a disease where your blood glucose levels become extremely high). In addition to this, pterostilbene may reduce your heart disease risk by lowering blood levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (a type of cholesterol that blocks your artery walls and increases your heart disease risk) and triglycerides (a type of fat that can increase your heart disease risk if blood levels become too high).
Resveratrol can be found in grapes and red wine. Red grapes contain up to 0.78 milligrams (mg) of this natural nutrient per 100 grams (g) whilst red wine contains up to 0.71 milligrams (mg) of this natural nutrient per 100 millilitres (ml).
When it comes to health benefits, resveratrol is very promising. Research has revealed that it is a powerful antioxidant. Provisional research suggests that this stilbenoid may also act as an anti-inflammatory, prevent Alzheimer’s disease (a mental disorder which causes problems with memory, thought and speech), prevent cancer and prevent diabetes. In addition to this, it may reduce your risk of developing heart disease by preventing atherosclerosis (a condition where hard plaques form in your artery walls and restrict the flow of blood) and reducing blood levels of LDL cholesterol.
There is still a lot of research to be done on these plant based nutrients. Whilst the early signs are very promising, it is important to remember that none of these health benefits have been confirmed. The stilbenoid rich foods listed in this article are all foods that should be included as part of a healthy balanced diet (just go easy on the red wine). Just make sure you do not spend any of your hard earned cash on stilbenoid supplements until further research has been completed.