It’s no secret that consuming a diet high in polyphenols is the way to go to prevent cardiovascular disease. Polyphenols can be found in a variety of foods, but one of the most famous is resveratrol found in red wine.
Resveratrol has garnered the lion’s share of positive press when it comes to polyphenols boosting health and rightly so. Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that could play a potentially big role in protecting the body from disease. One of the best sources of resveratrol is red wine. And therein lays a problem: many people, for different reasons, don’t want to drink a lot of alcohol.
It’s true that the alcohol in red wine itself offers health benefits when consumed in moderation. Red wine alcohol can help to increase levels of HDL cholesterol—the good type of cholesterol. The more HDL cholesterol you have, the less likely you are to run into trouble with LDL cholesterol and the onset of heart disease. Red wine alcohol also helps to reduce a substance called fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is involved in the process of blood clotting, which, when it comes to the heart, can be a bad thing. Blood clots can lead to stroke and other serious health complications.
Now, what if you don’t want to drink alcohol—can you still benefit from the resveratrol in red wine? The answer to that is “yes.” First of all, there is a myth that when you cook with red wine the alcohol will be burned off completely. That may not be the case. Sometimes a food cooked in wine will retain up to a third of the original alcohol content depending on the length of cooking time.
For most people, cooking with red wine usually involves longer periods of time. If a food is cooked for more than 30 minutes, much of the alcohol will likely evaporate during the cooking process. This “alcohol-free” red wine still imparts health benefits, according to the results of clinical trials.
Last year, Spanish researchers at the University of Barcelona evaluated the effects of both alcoholic and nonalcoholic red wine on blood pressure and plasma nitric oxide in people at high risk for heart disease. Nitric oxide is a compound that plays a key role in cardiovascular function. It’s directly involved in regulating normal blood pressure and increasing circulation. It may also play a role in maintaining healthy triglyceride levels and in dilating the arteries to ensure healthy blood flow.
Sixty-seven men were recruited for the trial. The men were given a common diet to consume and then divided into three treatment groups: red wine (30g alcohol/day), the equivalent amount of dealcoholized red wine, or gin (30g alcohol/day). The trial lasted four weeks. The researchers measured blood pressure and plasma nitric oxide before and after the intervention.
They found that both systolic and diastolic blood pressure decreased significantly after the dealcoholized red wine intervention. They also noted increases in plasma nitric oxide. The researchers concluded that dealcoholized red wine decreases blood pressure and could be useful for the prevention of hypertension.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Chiva-Blanch, G., et al., “Dealcoholized red wine decreases systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases plasma nitric oxide: short communication,” Circ Res. September 28, 2012; 111(8): 1065-8.
Gorelik, S., et al., “A novel function of red wine polyphenols in humans: prevention of absorption of cytotoxic lipid peroxidation products,” FASEB J. January 2008; 22(1): 41-6.