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Non-alcoholic wine good for the heart

health-and-fitness Updated: Sep 12, 2012 14:33 IST
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Loads of research touts the health benefits of a glass of red wine. But now, a new study suggests that non-alcoholic wine may be even healthier for the heart.

Non-alcoholic or ‘de-alcoholised’ wine is made using fermented grapes like regular wine, but most of the alcohol is removed before the final bottling. According to the research, non-alcoholic red wine was found to be more effective at lowering blood pressure.

University of Barcelona researchers recruited 67 men who had diabetes, or three or more heart disease risk factors. The men spent three periods of four weeks each drinking either non-alcoholic red wine, red wine or gin with their meals, switching to a different beverage at the end of every phase.

During the month they imbibed regular red wine or gin, the men’s blood pressures showed little or no change. But when they switched to non-alcoholic wine, their blood pressure dipped — only a modest amount, but enough to translate into a 14 per cent reduced risk for coronary heart disease and a 20 per cent decrease in risk for strokes. The benefits of red wine are not found in the alcohol, but in the powerful antioxidants called polyphenols.

The alcohol may actually dampen red wine’s blood pressure-reducing effect, suggest the researchers.

They also speculate that non-alcoholic wine may increase nitric oxide in the bloodstream, a chemical that relaxes blood vessels. “The non-alcoholic part of the wine — namely polyphenols — exerts a protective effect on the cardiovascular system,” says researcher Ramon Estruch, MD, PhD. “Polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may be useful to prevent other diseases such as diabetes.”