Strive for two to three servings a day. (Photo: Getty Images)
Scientists have discovered a new reason to eat more little red, blue and purple fruits: They could help you lose weight.
New research published in the International Journal of Obesity found that eating two to three daily servings of berries, grapes, and some other fruits can convert extra “bad” fat stored in our bodies into calorie-burning “good” fat.
The magic ingredient? Resveratrol … yup, the very same molecule you’ve heard holds the secret to red wine’s purported health benefits.
The study was conducted on mice, who were fed a high-fat diet. Some were given daily doses of the antioxidant resveratrol, which is commonly found in fruit, in amounts that would equal 12 ounces of fruit a day for humans.
Scientists discovered that the mice who ate a diet that consisted of 0.1 percent resveratrol gained 40 percent less weight than those who didn’t. And — here’s the key — the extra dose of resveratrol helped them change their extra white fat into beige fat.
Beige fat is our weight loss friend because it has the ability to convert white fat into brown fat, the “good” type of fat that burns off regular body fat as fuel for your body. The existence of beige fat was proven in research published by the journal Cell in 2012, which discovered that beige fat cells are scattered in pea-sized deposits beneath the skin near the collarbone and along the spine.
This new discovery adds to the health benefits of resveratrol, which have been touted for years.
A study published in the journal Cell Metabolism found that resveratrol has anti-aging properties and research from the University of Leicester found that resveratrol can fight cancer even after our bodies have converted it into other compounds. Research published earlier this year in the journal Scientific Reports also discovered that it may help prevent memory loss.
Certified dietitian-nutritionist Gina Keatley points out that we’ve repeatedly seen that people who have lower instances of heart disease and obesity tend to eat diets high in resveratrol. But “we’re not 100 percent sure why it’s good for you,” she tells Yahoo Health.
Registered dietitian Keri Gans, author of “The Small Change Diet” notes that resveratrols are part of a group of plant compounds called polyphenols that are rich in antioxidants, which promote overall health.
Gans tells Yahoo Health that there’s no current recommended daily intake for resveratrols but says, “overall foods that are rich in antioxidants should be part of a daily well-balanced diet.”
How can you get more fat-burning, health-promoting resveratrols in your diet? Eat red grapes, cranberries, blueberries, and raspberries. If you want to target the same amount the most recent study found was beneficial for creating beige fat, strive for two to three servings a day.
Red and white wine, dark chocolate, and peanut butter contain resveratrols as well, Gans says, but notes that these foods also have calories that can add up.
And, while there are resveratrols and polyphenol supplements on the market, Keatley cautions against taking them in a pill form, especially in an attempt to lose weight.
Why? Increasing the rate at which our cells work can have unknown effects on our bodies in the short and long-term, she says, so it’s best to get your resveratrols naturally.
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