Non-Alcoholic Red Wine May Boost Heart Health

(WebMD) — Much research has touted the health benefits that come from drinking moderate amounts of red wine.

Now, a new study may extend some of these benefits to teetotalers. Non-alcoholic red wine may be even more effective at lowering blood pressure in men who are high risk for heart attack. The study findings appear in Circulation Research.

The study included 67 men who had diabetes or three or more heart disease risk factors. When the men drank red wine with alcohol, their blood pressure went down a little, and there was no change in blood pressure levels when they drank gin.

When the men drank non-alcoholic red wine, their blood pressure went down enough to lower their risk of heart disease by 14% and stroke by as much as 20%.

The real health benefits in red wine may be found in powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, not the alcohol. In fact, the alcohol in red wine may dampen its blood pressure-lowering potential. In the study, the red wine with alcohol and non-alcoholic wine contained equal amounts of polyphenols.

The researchers were able to link polyphenol levels to a boost in men’s levels of nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels relax and allows more blood to reach your heart and organs.

During the study, the men ate similar diets and drank either 10 ounces of red wine, 10 ounces of non-alcoholic red wine, or 3 ounces of gin. All of the men tried each diet/beverage combination for four weeks.

“The non-alcoholic part of the wine — namely polyphenols — exert a protective effect on the cardiovascular system,” says researcher Ramon Estruch, MD, PhD of the University of Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. “Polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be useful to prevent other disease such as diabetes.”


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