Due to widely publicized research on red wine, many people are familiar with a phytonutrient called resveratrol. This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrient belongs to a group of substances called stilbenoids. While resveratrol is especially concentrated in red wine due to its presence in the skin of red grapes, it is also found in other foods—including blueberries—although typically in much smaller amounts. However, resveratrol is not the only stilbenoid found in the foods we eat, and researchers now know that alongside of resveratrol in blueberries is another stilbenoid called pterostilbene. (Pterostilbene is also present in grape plants, but it is found primarily in the vine portion of the plants rather than the grapes themselves.) Recent studies have shown that pterostilbene displays many of the same properties as resveratrol: it not only acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, but it also has antidiabetic, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and chemopreventive (anti-cancer) properties. But what has been most exciting in recent studies has been the discovery of better bioavailability of pterostilbene than resveratrol in some foods, including blueberries. One study has shown that once absorbed pterostilbene spends as much as five times longer in our body before being metabolized into other compounds. This longer-lasting nature of pterostilbene may give it more time to provide us with its many health benefits. And since few commonly eaten foods are as rich in pterostilbene as blueberries, we may be looking at a fruit that is even more unique than previously believed in terms of its ability to support our health.
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