After years of good news for chocolate and wine lovers, here’s a bit of a mood dampener: an antioxidant found in both may not make you healthier.
Researchers followed 783 men and women in two villages in Italy’s Chianti region to parse out any connection between resveratrol — the antioxidant credited with everything from low incidence of coronary heart disease to cancer prevention — and inflammation, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and death.
To their surprise, they found nothing.
In what the researchers believe to be the first large, observational, epidemiologic study to examine the link between urinary resveratrol from a normal diet and health outcomes, the data showed nothing out of the ordinary for the population of 65 and older men and women, whom they followed from 1998 to 2009.
Among the group, 268 participants (34.3 percent) died; 174 participants (27.2 percent) developed cardiovascular disease during the nine years; and 34 (4.6 percent) developed cancer.
Today’s news (published in JAMA Internal Medicine) is not completely dire, however: resveratrol is only one of many polyphenols in grapes and chocolate. And the study doesn’t debunk all possible benefits of the treats: Chocolate has been shown to reduce cravings, improve mood, even protect against sun damage.
Other research suggests that a chemical found in red wine (piceatonnal) may prevent fat cells from multiplying. And tannins may make you feel fuller.