Can Chocolate and Red Wine Cure Cancer?

   |  Updated: February 04, 2015 13:55 IST

Can Chocolate and Red Wine Cure Cancer?

For long, chocolate and red wine have been in the limelight for their anti-cancer properties. According to previous studies, an antioxidant found in red wine could inhibit the growth of cancer cells and also improve the effectiveness of chemo-therapy treatments in cancer patients. The antioxidant known as resveratrol, found in the skin of grapes, was credited with destroying the energy source of cancer cells. (More: Red wine chemical may protect against cancer)

Some studies proved the same for chocolate and berries, their high antioxidant activity was known to be effective in reducing the risk of cancer.  With all the talk about the super powers of chocolate and red wine, this latest research may come as a blow to those who have been consuming these foods for their anti-cancer benefits, as it challenges the very benefits of resveratrol.

If you're wondering what an antioxidant is, it is a molecule that slows down or prevents the oxidation of other cells.

This new research that has appeared in the journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, has revealed how diets rich in antioxidant 'resveratrol' failed to reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer. The 'resveratrol' compound is a type of antioxidant found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries. During the research, it was found that the consumption of foods high in resveratrol neither aided in prolonging life nor helped in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease or cancer. (More: Red wine, chocolate sharpen your mind)

"The story of resveratrol turns out to be another case where you get a lot of hype about health benefits that does not stand the test of time," said Richard D. Semba, a professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University's school of medicine. Contrary to the general notion that foods which contain resveratrol are good for you, he claimed, "We did not find that at all,"

The good news is that despite the negative results of the benefits of resveratrol in curing cancer, it did help in reducing inflammation in some people and promoted healthy heart functions. "It is just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs," he maintained.

"Polyphenols are complex foods, and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol", researchers added.

For their study, the researchers analyzed 24 hours of urine samples from 783 Italians over the age 65 for metabolites of resveratrol.

Listen to the latest songs, only on

Taking into consideration factors like age and gender, people with the highest concentration of resveratrol metabolites were no less likely to have died of any cause than those with no resveratrol found in their urine. The concentration of resveratrol was not associated with inflammatory markers, cardiovascular disease or cancer rates. (More: Thumbs down to benefits of chocolate, red wine)

Resveratrol is also found in large amounts in grapes, peanuts and certain Asiatic plant roots. Though the study does not talk about any negative impact of consumption of foods high in resveratrol, its health benefits clearly remain debatable.

CommentsWith inputs from IANS

For the latest food news, health tips and recipes, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and YouTube.