Both red wine and red or purple grape juice promote a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol status and reduce your risk of developing blood clots. There is some evidence that the antioxidants in grape juice are better absorbed by the body than those in alcohol. And the health benefits of red wine are reversed if you drink more than one or two glasses a day.
Health Benefits of Wine
Red wine is rich in plant chemicals called polyphenols which may protect against certain kinds of disease. One polyphenol in red wine, called resveratrol, may offer heart-protective benefits, including reducing damage to blood vessels, lowering "bad" cholesterol and preventing blood clots. Also an antioxidant, resveratrol may produce anti-cancer, anti-aging and antinflammatory effects, according to a laboratory study published in "Inflammation" in 2011. Additionally, the alcohol in wine can help lower bad cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Health Benefits of Grape Juice
Grape juice contains many of the same antioxidants as red wine, including resveratrol and another type of polyphenol, anthocyanins. As with wine, dark-colored juice provides the most health benefits. Research suggests that red and purple grape juices may provide some of the same heart benefits of red wine, including reducing the risk of blood clots; lowering cholesterol; protecting the blood vessels in your heart; and lowering blood pressure.
People with certain health conditions, such as a weak heart, and pregnant women shouldn't drink alcohol. And neither the American Heart Association nor the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that you start drinking alcohol if you don't already. However, if you already drink alcohol, enjoying red wine in moderation -- no more than one 1.5-ounce drink daily for women and two daily for men -- may benefit your heart. Grape juice -- along with a variety of other fruits and vegetables -- can help you meet the eight-to-nine daily fruit and vegetable serving recommendation of the AHA.
While research on the health benefits of resveratrol in red wine and grape juice is promising, more research is needed to determine the specific health effects or intake requirements for this antioxidant. Further research is also required to determine whether red wine contains more heart benefits than other types of alcohol, such as beer or spirits.
Keep in mind that drinking too much of any type of alcohol can cause damage to the heart, brain, liver and other organs, and it can cause high blood pressure, high blood triglycerides and increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
- American Heart Association: Alcohol and Heart Disease
- "Inflammation"; Anti-inflammatory Effect of Resveratrol and Polydatin by In Vitro IL-17 Modulation; G. Lanzilli, et al.; March 2011
- "Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology"; Bioavailability and Biokinetics of Anthocyanins From Red Grape Juice and Red Wine; R. Bitsch, et al.; 2004
- American Heart Association: Fruits and Vegetables