Red wine is one of those rare foods that’s both enjoyed by people for its gastronomical delights and touted by the medical community as a heart-healthy food. The only other food that seems to come close to balancing sheer enjoyment of taste with protection against heart disease is chocolate. And, in fact, red wine and chocolate have one key nutrient in common: antioxidants. Dark chocolate is full of two flavonoids called “epicatechin” and “catechin.” In red wine, the primary antioxidant is “resveratrol.”
Although rarely mentioned, many people find it difficult to benefit from the health-boosting effects of red wine, because they can’t or don’t want to drink alcohol. For those who are diabetic or have problems with their kidneys or liver, drinking alcohol can be particularly problematic.
Well, here’s some good news from researchers at the University of Cape Town in South Africa: red wine with a lower alcohol content may be just as beneficial for you. After noting that many studies suggest that regular and moderate consumption of red wine benefits cardiovascular health, the researchers devised a study. They wanted to know how the antioxidant and cardio-protective properties
of a French red wine (cabernet sauvignon, 12% alcohol by volume) compared with those of the same wine subjected to reverse osmosis for partial removal of alcohol (six percent alcohol by volume).
First, the research team assessed antioxidant capacity of the two wines. Then, to test the cardio-protective effect of the 12$% vs. six-percent wine, they gave each to two separate groups of rats.
After 10 days of wine supplementation, the researchers found no differences in antioxidant capacity between the 12% and six-percent wines when they performed various heart tests on the rats. They concluded that their findings suggest that the reduction of alcohol content from 12% to six percent in wine doesn’t alter its antioxidant and heart-protective properties.
The researchers finished with this health advice: moderate and regular consumption of lower alcohol content wines may offer beneficial effects without the risks associated with traditional wines of higher alcohol content