If you’ve heard that drinking red wine can be good for you, the positive benefits are almost definitely down to one particular ingredient – a compound called resveratrol. Found in red grapes and other foods such as berries and nuts, resveratrol has recently been the subject of yet another research project. And this time it’s been studied in postmenopausal women to find out if it has any effect on cognitive decline (since dementia is far more common in women than men).
Writing in the journal Nutrients, the researchers – from Australia’s University of Newcastle – found a branded resveratrol supplement may well have an effect on brain function. In fact they discovered taking a resveratrol supplement on a regular basis could delay cognitive decline by up to 10 years.
To investigate, the researchers divided 129 postmenopausal women into two groups, with one taking the resveratrol twice a day for 12 months and the other taking a placebo. The results confirm that the women taking the resveratrol supplements showed an improvement in overall cognitive performance. This, the researchers suggest, was a result of improved processing speed and cognitive flexibility – two things that often deteriorate as we get older.
So does it mean we can all drink more red wine? Not really, since the study used a nutritional supplement, not wine or any other food. But if you are going to have the occasional tipple, a small glass of Merlot or Pinot Noir may not be a bad idea…
Remember: always drink safely. Aim for a maximum 14 units of alcohol a week, spread out over three or four days with a couple or more alcohol-free days in between.