Heart disease is still the #1 killer in the U.S., with atherosclerosis being the most common form. Individuals diagnosed with this form of heart disease may face complex, ongoing complications and enormous medical costs. The irony is that heart disease is largely preventable with a healthy lifestyle. Safe, natural prevention and treatment measures are more important now than ever.

On that note, you may have heard that red wine is heart-healthy? Many of the cardiovascular benefits of wine have been attributed to a natural compound called resveratrol. Resveratrol is a plant chemical—or polyphenol—found in grape skins and seeds, as well as peanuts, blueberries and cranberries.

Resveratrol is cardio protective on many levels. For starters, it helps reduce damage to the heart while minimizing LDL (“bad”) cholesterol oxidation from damaging free radicals—as well as preventing dangerous blood clotting.1

But there’s more. Researchers have referred to resveratrol as “therapeutic promise for cardiovascular disease.” It appears that this natural compound inhibits cell death, thereby protecting the heart from atherosclerosis, ventricular arrhythmias—life threatening abnormal heartbeats—and heart injury associated with poor blood flow. In fact, some scientists feel that resveratrol may literally be preventive medicine.2

Resveratrol is also a powerful vasodilator, meaning that it widens blood vessels making it easier for the heart to pump blood through. All these effects protect against atherosclerotic plaque development, blood clots and arterial blockage.3 Resveratrol also comes to the rescue by protecting against cardiac fibrosis—hardening of the heart tissue—which forces the heart to work harder to pump blood, damaging the surrounding muscles.4

Clearly, resveratrol is too beneficial not to take advantage of. Since most people don’t drink numerous glasses of red wine every day, consistent supplementation will yield the best results. Your heart will thank you!

1 Int J Mol Med. 2001 Jul;8(1):3-17
2 Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov. 2007 Jun;2(2):133-8
3 Arch Mal Coeur Vaiss. 2006 Dec;99(12):1230-5
4 Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Mar;288(3):H1131-8. Epub 2004 Oct 21