London - The good news, for red wine lovers, is that it really can cut your blood pressure.
The bad news is the alcohol has to be removed first.
Drinking non-alcoholic red wine might not sound as much fun, but for people at risk of heart problems it could be a lifesaver, it is claimed.
A study shows for the first time that natural antioxidant compounds in red wine – not the alcohol – are good for your heart health.
Researchers in Spain say the alcohol weakens the ability of red wine to cut blood pressure, effectively cancelling out any benefits.
They found that men at high risk for heart disease had lower blood pressure after drinking non-alcoholic red wine every day for four weeks.
The researchers studied 67 men with diabetes or three or more cardiovascular risk factors who ate a common diet combined with different drinking habits.
They were asked to drink either 10 ounces of red wine a day – the equivalent of a couple of glasses – the same amount of non-alcoholic red wine or about three ounces of gin (a couple of drinks).
All of the men tried each combination of food and drink for four weeks.
The red wine and non-alcoholic wine contained equal amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that decreases blood pressure.
High blood pressure, or hypertension which is classified as more than 140/90, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
The first figure, the systolic pressure, corresponds to the “surge” that occurs with each heartbeat while the diastolic reading is the pressure in the “resting” stage between beats.
During the red wine phase, the men had very little reduction in blood pressure and there was no change while drinking gin.
However, after drinking non-alcoholic red wine, blood pressure decreased by about 6 in systolic and 2 in diastolic blood pressure, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease by 14 percent and stroke by as much as 20 percent.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research.
Researcher Dr Gemma Chiva-Blanch from the University of Barcelona said: “Consumption of dealcoholised red wine might be useful in preventing low to moderate-degree hypertension” - Daily Mail