Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another Peanut-Noir, Sir?

Resveratrol is a compound found in red grapes and most notably in red wine. It has been found to help lower blood sugar.

Studies in other species yet to be replicated in humans suggest that resveratrol may also lengthen lifespan. (Remember how I mentioned in a previous post that for pilots this can be important?). It seems to have anti-cancer properties. And, at least if you're a mouse in an exercise lab, it can improve treadmill performance.

Of course, all of these findings have led proponents of red wine to promote a glass or two on a regular basis as health-promoting practice. Unfortunately, for pilots, given the restrictions on alcohol consumption that come with the job, this is not really very practical advice. So here are some ways to get more resveratrol even if you can't imbibe.

1. Let those first class passengers have the pinot noir, just be sure you snag a bag of those in-flight peanuts; they're one of the best natural sources of resveratrol outside of wine. Same goes for peanut butter. I've carried jars with me on extended trips to snack on if I knew I was going to be arriving too late to find an open restaurant.

2. Most bars offer cranberry juice, another good source.

3. Eat more blueberries. Nowadays, blueberries can be found in many restaurants. You can also pack the dried version in your carry-on to snack on. I've seen them cheap at Costco.

Be advised that powdered resveratrol supplements are primarily derived from Japanese knotweed. It is not really known if it is resveratrol alone that has such potent health powers, or if it acts in sync with other compounds in the foods mentioned above. My personal opinion is that it's always best to go with whole foods than it is to assume that a supplement outside of the environment Mother Nature packages it in is equally as productive to use.

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