Drinking red wine has been touted over the years as way to reduce heart disease risk but new studies have found that eating grapes and drinking grape juice is just as beneficial without the negative effects of alcohol. This article discusses the benefits of eating grapes and drinking grape juice over drinking red wine.
Over the years numerous studies have reported that drinking red wine may decrease the risk of heart disease, but in truth, simply eating grapes or drinking grape juice can supply the same healthy benefits.
Eating Grapes for Heart Disease Prevention
According to Martha Grogan, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, drinking grape juice and eating grapes can produce the same heart-healthy effects as red wine. Grapes and grape juice contain the same antioxidants, flavonoids and resveratrol, as red wine. These are the basic components that provide the heart-healthy effects. Grogan says that recent studies have found purple and red grape juice and grapes provide the following heart-healthy benefits:
- Lowers the risk of blood clots
- Lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Prevents damage to the heart’s blood vessels
- Maintains a healthy blood pressure
- Raises HDL (good) cholesterol
- Lowers the risk of atherosclerosis
An additional benefit of eating whole grapes over drinking red wine is consuming the fiber in the fruit.
Recent Study Confirms Heart-Healthy Benefits of Grapes
A recent study by researchers at the University of Michigan Health Systems found that eating grapes of all colors lowered blood pressure, caused better heart function and reduced inflammation in the heart and blood. The study reported at the April 26, 2010 Experimental Biology Convention showed that adding grapes to the diet, even a high-fat diet, can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. The researches believe it is the high content of antioxidants in the grapes that are the main component in its heart-healthy benefits.
The Truth about Wine and Heart Disease
While drinking red wine may sound like a good way to reduce the risk of heart disease, the truth is that drinking too much alcohol can have negative effects on the heart and other functions of the body. The American Heart Association (AHA) states that drinking too much alcohol causes the following negative effects:
- Raises triglyceride levels in the blood
- Increases blood pressure
- Leads to heart failure
- Increases calorie intake and leads to obesity
- Increases the risk of developing diabetes
- Increases the risk of stroke
The heart-healthy effects of red wine lie mainly in the grapes which the wine is made of. These benefits can be achieved more effectively from eating grapes and drinking grape juice. The only true known benefit of alcohol is a slight rise in HDL (good) cholesterol levels. However, the AHA states that regular exercise or adding niacin to the diet can have the same healthy effect. If you enjoy drinking red wine, the AHA suggests no more than one glass of wine (4 ounces) per day for women and two glasses for men. The AHA does not promote non-drinkers to start drinking wine for its heart-healthy benefits, but instead to drink grape juice or eat grapes.
Mayo Clinic.com “Grape juice: Same heart benefits as wine?” by Martha Grogan, M.D.
Retrieved June 26, 2010
Science Daily.com “Grapes Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Diabetes, Animal Study Shows” Retrieved June 26, 2010
American Heart Association “Alcohol, Wine and Cardiovascular Disease” Retrieved June 26, 2010.