Who doesn’t love to have a nice relaxing glass of red wine after a long day? And sure, it’s alcohol, but it’s okay because red wine is good for you, right? Well, my friends, this may be true (in small doses!) because red wine contains the powerful antioxidant, resveratrol.
Resveratrol does many wonderful things for the body, specifically in the gut, which makes it an excellent nutrient for people with digestive conditions.
I wanted to talk about resveratrol because, well hey, everyone loves a good glass of red wine, right? One of the first questions I get from my patients when we talk about doing a cleanse is, “Really?? Do I have to give up red wine??” And the answer is yes, ideally.
Although, I’ve recently discovered a way to prepare it that makes it okay to enjoy on a cleanse, albeit in very minute dosages, for a therapeutic effect. I’ll spill the beans on how exactly to do this later on in this article.
What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a plant compound that acts as a powerful antioxidant in our bodies. It’s not only found in grapes and red wine, but also in smaller amounts in blueberries, tomatoes, peanuts, dark chocolate, and apples.
Resveratrol Concentration in Grapes
The grape is an interesting fruit because the pinot noir grape is the ‘weakest’ grape that grows well in Oregon, Italy, and France (legendary here!) yet it has the highest antioxidant content, specifically resveratrol1. Pinot noir is the healthiest of red wines.
The pinot noir grape is so weak that it actually has to produce a fungus on its skin in order to survive. So the problem with drinking red wine isn’t necessarily alcohol but also the fungus that grows on the skin of the grape. It is a product of fermentation that gets into the body and upsets the microbiome.
It’s these minute doses of bacteria that are on our food, all the time, that we are ingesting every day. This is one of the reasons we don’t want to be eating leftovers all of the time because leftovers have a lot of bacteria that is latent from manufacturing and transporting of different foods.
The weaker the grape, the stronger the antioxidant. In red wine, it’s pinot noir grapes. In terms of juice, it would be the Concord grape. They actually have one of the highest nutritional profiles but they are incredibly sweet (which means high in sugar).
Have you ever heard of the old grape diet? Where you basically eat nothing but grapes for three days?
There actually might be something to this. I was reading Genesis recently, the first chapter of the Bible, and in the biblical days, to cleanse they would basically not consume anything for the first 3 days. So you could do a grape juice fast for the first 3 days, along with water and green tea, to clean up the system and also take in a ton of powerful antioxidants.
What Does Resveratrol Do?
Resveratrol can help women lose weight and maintain healthy estrogen levels2 3. Estrogen dominance is a problem that makes you gain weight, and when you gain weight you produce more estrogen.
So it is a vicious cycle of gaining weight and having high estrogen, which causes symptoms like breast tenderness, moodiness, depression, anxiety, you’re basically all over the map. It is not a fun condition to be in and resveratrol can help with that.
Resveratrol in the Gut
So what does it do for the gut?
Flavonoids are very important in keeping the gut mucosal membrane lining healthy4. If you can’t keep the gut mucosal membrane lining healthy, strong and integral, then the problem arises that you have a weak barrier. Your gut is a barrier to the outside food that is coming into the body. It has to be integral.
Maintaining a Healthy Gut Lining
So we need to work on strategies to keep this barrier closed and strong. What closes the barrier most profoundly? Relaxation! That’s right, NO STRESS! When you are stressed, your body is in the sympathetic state and cortisol is pumping. In this state, your gut mucosal membrane lining is weakened, or leaky as they used to call it.
Leaky Gut was a huge term in the 80s and 90s and people still use it – leaky gut syndrome. Now leaky gut is, in a sense, a stressed out person who has holes in their intestines. So their barrier is no longer working, for the engineers out there (😉) They’ve lost the integrity of the barrier, and things that are not supposed to get through, do. Things leak through that are not in the size they should be, and the body can’t recognize them which causes irritation and allergies.
Stool Transit Time
Stool transit time can actually dictate the number of allergies you have. The less that you go, the more allergies you may have5. Isn’t that incredible? Stool transit time can also dictate the form of stool oro to anal (oroanal transit time)6. So there are all these ways that knowing your transit time can tell you different things about your body.
You Are What You Absorb
Now, resveratrol helps with keeping the gut lining integral. It’s actually imperative to it. In supplement formulas, I add in resveratrol all the time and I make sure people are getting it from their diet as well.
What’s even more important is that people are absorbing and digesting things well. We need to optimize the absorption capacity in our guts in order to really reap the health benefits of resveratrol in our food, drink, and supplements.
So resveratrol is awesome to get from red wine, although the bacteria and fermentation products make it not so great on a cleanse. So we can do grapes, but we need to wash them well. I’m going to teach you how to wash them to reduce the bacterial load.
Now I don’t want to get into the hygiene hypothesis… the thing is, this isn’t something you need to do long term, just until you establish a healthier barrier and a healthy microbiome. When the microbiome is functioning well it can tolerate more bacterial load. We need to give it a chance to reset itself within the body, which could take 3-6 months, a year, 2 years…
It depends how devastated it is and it depends on how compliant you are.
To Reset Your Gut You Have 2 Options
- You can reset it by a little wee bit at a time which takes a long time,
- You go all in! Change your practice step by step by step for the fast win.
The second option makes more sense to me! I have a big bucket list. I want to travel, why not get things in gear the RIGHT way, but as quickly as possible?
So, in order to reset the environment, we need to clear what is coming in, allowing the body to rebalance in its own natural way and allow it the space to do what it needs to do – that is digest, absorb and eliminate.
My Favourite Health Tool To Reset The Gut
And here comes in my favorite health tool, the castor oil pack!
Castor oil packs are so great for optimizing and supporting change in the gut more rapidly as they focus on the 5 Foundational Functions:
Parasympathetic tone, practicing the pause. How do we get more of the relaxed state as opposed to the stressed state? Castor oil packs are like the escape button for your nervous system, which is more related to the pack rather than the actual oil. That’s because when the pack sits on the skin it stimulates receptors in the skin of the nervous system.
Whenever you place an object in an area, tactile soft-touch actually is treating that area7. This soft, pleasurable touch also stimulates hormones, like oxytocin – the love and bonding hormone, as well as dopamine8 – the pleasure hormone of the brain. No side effects from castor oil packs, only benefits!
2. Inflammation & Alkalinity
Castor oil has been shown to be an excellent anti-inflammatory. Wherever there is inflammation there is acidity, so reducing inflammation increase alkalinity. The enzymes of our bodies cannot work without alkalinity. Our enzymes need proper pH to function well, so castor oil packs help to create this environment.
Castor oil has been shown to be as effective as capsaicin without the irritating effect9. I have done studies in my clinic where half of my patients who are on a cleanse wear their pack, and the other half do not. The half who do their castor oil packs lab results post-cleanse were significantly more improved than those who did not.
3. Maintain Glutathione Levels & Support Detox Pathways
There are not many ways to get glutathione, our super important detoxifying compound. You can take glutathione supplements, but they haven’t been shown to be super effective. You can also get it from whey protein, but this is an issue for a lot of people with allergies and sensitivities. A third way to get it is from rooibos tea, green tea or red raspberry leaf tea to improve glutathione in the gut.
Supplementation with N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and magnesium can help with glutathione levels, however, most of us are already very deficient in magnesium so the body will first use the magnesium for what it needs, before converting it to glutathione. Sometimes it can be dose-limiting too, because of the potential laxative effect of magnesium.
IV and injection is another way of getting glutathione, but this requires going to the clinic every time. Castor oil packs help with the recycling of glutathione. There was a study done on rat lenses where they put the lenses in a dish of glutathione solution, and one in a dish of castor oil. The glutathione levels were actually maintained BETTER in the castor oil solution10.
4. Regulation Of Bowels
Transit time is so, so, SO incredibly important. Without a normal transit time, you have problems with your microbiome, allergies, and toxins recirculating in the body. Normal for men is 1.7 days and for women it is, unfortunately, higher at 2.3 days11.
Yes, us women are more complicated! We also have more hormones that play a role in our transit time too. If our progesterone is low, it can contribute to a slower transit time. These are all things that need to be taken into account.
5. Breaking Down Biofilm
Biofilm is basically a sticky coating of glycoproteins and hyaluronic acid, a matrix created by bacteria from their waste products. It’s no different than what surrounds all of the cells of our body. It’s like an extracellular matrix made for bacteria to keep them safe from evil enemies on the outside.
The only problem is that these bacteria are actually the evil enemies to us because they are inoculating a gut that should be healthy. They’re straight up con artists, which is why I call them conbiotics™. You see, bacteria is really good for us and “commensal” bacteria is actually awesome!
Commensal bacteria create vitamins for us, like the ever important B vitamins, as well as L-butyrate and short-chain fatty acids which help to heal the gut lining. It’s amazing what they do for us! But unfortunately, the bad guys can create gas that basically slows our transit time down, like hydrogen disulfide and methane gas12.
So it’s super important to address biofilm. There aren’t many natural substances that have the ability to break it down. Castor oil is one of these substances and it’s so amazing because it stimulates nitric oxide passageways!
Nitric oxide is a gasotransmitter, which is basically a gaseous messenger molecule involved in signaling to open up blood vessels and also helps reduce inflammation. They’re calling it one of the newest anti-aging molecules. Red wine, grapes, and beets are all food sources of nitric oxide.
The biggest reason I have people do castor oil packs is that they are such a simple treatment that work on thes 5 foundational functions – relaxation, inflammation, antioxidant status, the bowels, and the microbiome. This supports everything absorbing, digesting, working well, and eliminating where it needs to. To get your own super easy, 3-step Queen of the Thrones™ castor oil pack, click here!
Gut Lining and Hormones
Resveratrol basically acts like an antioxidant that helps heal the gut lining, and at the same time balances out hormones. Our gut lining is very dependant on our hormones, and resveratrol helps in the detoxification of estrogen. When you have better-balanced levels of estrogen, you will have sufficient levels of progesterone that help you go to the bathroom well and maintain a regular transit time.
You go to the bathroom more often when you have higher levels of progesterone. Ladies, right before your period do you find that you are going to the bathroom more frequently? This is because your progesterone levels spike just before menstruation, causing your transit time to speed up.
Dietary Intake of Resveratrol
1. Royal Red
If you’re on any kind of cleansing diet you want to do it the smart way and pasteurize it. Pasteurization, according to Louis Pasteur, was done via a flash-fry method. So basically you boil water, add it to red wine then cool it down immediately. And that’s a great way to get rid of the majority of bacteria and fermentation products that may be in red wine and causing problems for the body.
Try to avoid South America and Californian wines, because they’ve been shown to have high levels of toxicity in them. Organic wines from the European Union-Spain, Italy, France, and Pinot Noir are best. Wines from New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Oregon are also good options.
How to Flash Pasteurize Red Wine:
You will need:
- 1 oz red wine
- 4 oz boiling water
- Throw in 5 ice cubes
And there you have it, a nice wine cider basically that I like call it the Royal Red! Another option is to add carbonated water and ice for a spritzer type drink.
2. Grape Juice
Grape juice is another option for dietary intake of resveratrol. As mentioned before, Concord grapes have the highest antioxidant content. With grape juice though, water it down because it’s very sweet, therefore very high in sugar!
Good ‘ole grapes are also a great way to get resveratrol into your system. But remember we talked about the fungus that they produce to protect themselves? We need to wash it off with a handy dandy acid-cleansing wash.
How to make an Acid-Cleansing Wash
You will need:
- 1 part white vinegar
- 1/4 part hydrogen peroxide
- 5 parts water
- 1 tsp baking soda
Put grapes into a bowl, then add the mixture of liquids and drop in the baking soda. You can also do this with any dried goods like rice, grains, and legumes. It takes off the bacterial load and grapes are super important to do this for.
So the next time you reach for your glass of red wine, I hope you will see it in a whole new light. Make sure to practice your castor oil pack so you can absorb the awesome benefits of resveratrol, and use these food hygiene tricks to reduce the amount of bacterial load coming into your beautiful temple.
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