Drinking nonalcoholic red wine might help lower blood pressure in men at high risk for heart disease, according to a small new study by Spanish researchers. (They make nonalcoholic red wine?)
Middle-aged and older men who drank moderate amounts of de-alcoholized red wine daily for four weeks had significant drops in blood pressure, according to U.S. News & World Report.
"In the context of a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle, daily consumption of de-alcoholized red wine can help prevent hypertension," said study author Gemma Chiva-Blanch, from the department of internal medicine at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. The study was published September 6 in the journal Circulation Research.
The nonalcoholic wine drinkers also showed increased levels of nitric oxide -- a substance in the blood that previous studies have linked with improving blood-vessel health and lowering blood pressure.
While some studies have shown that moderate alcohol consumption in general lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease, others suggest red wine in particular is beneficial, possibly because it's rich in polyphenols, antioxidants linked with lowering blood pressure--specifically, the polyphenol resveratrol, which is found in red wine and grapes.
Binge and heavy drinking have been shown to be bad for blood pressure.
The study compared the effects of red wine and nonalcoholic red wine with otherwise identical composition on the same subjects. The researchers also studied gin's effects.
The participants were 67 men aged 55 or older who either had type 2 diabetes or more than three risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight or obese, or a family history of premature coronary heart disease.
Scientists found a reduction in blood pressure after the men drank red wine, but it was not statistically significant. Gin had no effect. However, alcohol-free red wine significantly dropped blood-pressure levels.
In theory, the researchers said the changes could reduce the risk of heart disease by 14 percent and the chance of stroke by almost 20 percent.
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Still, it was a small study, and other scientists raised concerns about its methodology. Plus, what do Spaniards know about drinking nonalcoholic wine, anyway?
And hey, they didn't say anything about the ladies! Drink up, sisters!
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