Not only have studies shown pretty consistently that wine, particularly red wine, has some pretty impressive cardiovascular health benefits, but it also has been found to keep cholesterol in check and ease chronic fatigue.
Red wine’s protective qualities are all thanks to the powerful antioxidant polyphenol called resveratrol, which, in addition to heart-friendly benefits, has anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
While many people like the taste of red wine, some just don’t like drinking alcohol in general, so they avoid it. After all, drinking even a little alcohol can have some negative side effects for some people. And overconsumption has a lot of undesirable effects, not the least of which is the dreaded hangover.
Fortunately, an interesting study shows that those who shy away from wine due to its alcohol content can still get the same heart health benefits of red wine by drinking a dealcoholized version of the beverage.
In this study, researchers followed 67 men who were at higher risk for cardiovascular disease because of family history, smoking and/or the presence of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure or high cholesterol. All men participated in three intervention periods that lasted four weeks each.
The three interventions involved consuming gin (100 mL per day, containing 30 g of ethanol); red wine (272 mL per day, containing 30 g of ethanol and 798 mg of total polyphenols); and dealcoholized red wine (272 mL per day, containing 1.14 g of ethanol and 733 mg of total polyphenols). There were no washout periods between interventions.
Throughout the study, the men maintained their usual diet, physical activity level and medication regimen. The researchers also asked that the participants abstain from alcohol or alcohol-free beer except for the beverages provided to them by the researchers.
During their analysis of the data at the conclusion of the study, researchers discovered that the red wine (both regular and nonalcoholic), but not the gin, improved glucose metabolism. Most surprisingly, though, the nonalcoholic red wine decreased the blood pressure in these men more than the regular red wine — by about 6mmHg in systolic pressure (the top number) and about 2 mmHg in diastolic pressure (the bottom number). This equates to a possible 14 percent reduction in heart disease risk and 20 percent reduction in stroke risk.
Enjoy Red Wine Without the Worries Over Alcohol
This study further confirms that red wine is clearly a superior choice over other forms of alcohol when it comes to health-protective benefits. But it also confirms that you don’t need to drink an alcohol-filled glass of red wine to get the health benefits of resveratrol.
Drinking dealcoholized red wine provides the same antioxidant punch as regular red wine, without the potential for tipsiness, headache or hangover. And in certain cases — like for the reduction of high blood pressure — a nonalcoholic wine may actually be a better choice.
Regardless of which type of red wine you choose, stick to no more than one to two 4-ounce glasses per day. And if you just can’t stomach the taste of red wine, nonalcoholic or otherwise, you can take resveratrol supplements, which provide excellent heart protection as well. The commonly recommended dosage is 200 mg per day, standardized to at least 8 percent total resveratrol, mixed with flavonoids for better bioavailability.
 Chiva-Blanch G et al. Effects of red wine polyphenols and alcohol on glucose metabolism and the lipid profile: a randomized clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition (2012), doi: 10.10.1016/j.clnu.2012.08.022.