January 24, 2022

Health Benefits of Resveratrol — and Should You Take It?

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that provides protective benefits for your heart, brain and body

resveratrol in grapes and grape juice

You’ve heard an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a glass of wine — or even a glass of grape juice — could keep you feeling healthy in a variety of ways, thanks to a key ingredient known as resveratrol. Before you uncork your next bottle or seek out supplements, registered dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, breaks down what you should know about resveratrol’s benefits.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

What is resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a naturally occurring highly powerful antioxidant. Although you can find it in peanuts, blueberries and cranberries, it’s most prominent in the skin of grapes and shines through in natural grape juice and red wine.

“Red wine is fermented with grape skins, so it contains resveratrol,” says Zumpano. “There is some resveratrol in white wine, but red wine contains three to 10 times more resveratrol compared to white wine.”

The benefits of resveratrol

Like other antioxidants, resveratrol contains various protective qualities that may help your body carry on a number of daily processes and fight off illness. And while there’ve been numerous studies documenting a wide array of antioxidants’ potential benefits that include anti-aging effects, anti-cancer effects and more, many more studies need to be done on resveratrol alone. However, there are several properties of resveratrol that might make these benefits possible.

Positively impacts brain and heart health

We know resveratrol is an anti-inflammatory because it’s an antioxidant, so it affects cells in your body by protecting them from damage. Most notably, it helps with brain and heart inflammation by providing a protective lining for your blood vessels and preventing insult or injury. This means it could have neuroprotective qualities and help preserve memory and brain function, as well as prevent heart disease and strokes.


“Resveratrol and other antioxidants are kind of like Saran wrap for your cells,” says Zumpano. “They wrap around the cell like a nice layer, so when you have compounds floating around your bloodstream and the environment that are trying to attack and damage that cell, you have this extra layer of protection.”

Assists with increasing HDL and reducing LDL cholesterol

Zumpano says antioxidants help with multiple systems in your body. A diet high in antioxidant-rich foods promotes high levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and low levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). “The foods that you eat affect your entire body — your cells, bones, blood and organs. The higher the antioxidant content, the greater the entire body is protected from disease and suppresses inflammation,” says Zumpano.

Helps reduce blood clotting

Polyphenols also appear to improve the function of blood vessels and may help slow down the formation of blood clots. Alcohol can also act as a blood thinner, so red wine, when consumed responsibly, can help reduce clot formation. Therefore, if you combine polyphenols and alcohol, you have an even greater blood-thinning effect.

Potential side effects of resveratrol

Resveratrol has a fairly low toxicity level. It’s reasonably well tolerated up to 5 grams per day. Studies have indicated nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and other gastrointestinal issues can occur when consuming higher doses. But these higher doses cannot be reached by diet alone and are usually reached when you consume supplements.


Should you take resveratrol?

To benefit from resveratrol, Zumpano suggests working 1 gram of resveratrol into your diet each day, and that it’s important this comes from natural sources. A glass of wine or grape juice is OK, but turning to resveratrol supplements may not be the right path to take, as too much of a good thing can sometimes present negative effects.

Supplements aren’t regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so you can never be certain you are getting the amount of resveratrol that a product claims it provides. Plus, anytime you can tap a natural source, you’re bound to benefit from it.

“There is a certain amount of resveratrol that your body cannot absorb and it’s difficult to determine that amount,” says Zumpano. “The case with most supplements is you’re certainly going to absorb it and utilize it much better from a real dietary source.”

Related Articles

assorted vessels of olive oil on a wooden table with olives in spoon
January 16, 2024
6 Major Benefits of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

EVOO is full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties, both of which aid your body in multiple ways

cut tomatoes
July 25, 2023
What Are the Health Benefits of Tomatoes?

With powerful antioxidants, tomatoes boost your heart health and may lower your cancer risk

Tamarind pods displayed on brown plate on a wooden table, with one pod torn open showing fruit inside.
May 8, 2023
Why Tamarind Just Might Be Your New Favorite Fruit

With a sweet, tangy flavor, tamarind is super versatile and high in antioxidants

Close up of lime slices floating in carafes filled with water.
December 11, 2022
Is Lime Water Good for You?

Hydrate in style with this healthy twist on H2O

An acai smoothie bowl topped with banana, raspberries, coconut and oats.
July 19, 2022
Why an Acai Berry Cleanse Is a Potentially Dangerous Trend

Here’s why you'll want to skip this one  

An older person holds both hands out in front of them and squeezes each one as if to relieve tension.
July 18, 2022
Why You Should Care About Free Radicals

When free radicals don’t have antioxidants to keep them in check, they go rogue

close-up of saffron
July 5, 2022
How Saffron Could Benefit Your Health

7 health benefits of this colorful, antioxidant-rich spice

A close up of blueberries in a bowl
May 26, 2022
The Health Benefits of Blueberries

Tiny but mighty, blueberries are rich in health benefits

Trending Topics

close up of keto gummies
Do Keto Gummies Work for Weight Loss? Are They Safe?

Research is inconclusive whether or not these supplements are helpful

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

Older person postioned sideways showing dowager hump.
Dowager’s Hump: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

The hump at the base of your neck may be caused by osteoporosis or poor posture