The cardiovascular benefits of drinking a glass of red wine a day has been well established.¹ However, some people avoid drinking alcohol due to social, health reasons, or personal preference.
The question comes up then, does dealcoholized red wine still give cardiovascular benefits compared to regular alcoholic wine?
There is some good scientific evidence that it does.
Polyphenols found in red wine increases the production and activity of an enzyme called paraoxonase1 which is an antioxidant enzyme that can decrease atherosclerotic disease, or plaque deposits in blood vessels.
These polyphenols are found in dealcoholized wine because the wine is originally produced in the same way as regular wine. The pulp of the grape is allowed to mix and and ferment with grape skin and skin, giving red wine its red color and also a wide variety of polyphenols. The wine goes through a dealcoholization step to remove the alcohol from the wine, still leaving a more complex flavor profile compared to grape juice.²
In one study of 66 men at high risk for heart disease, the subjects were placed into three treatment groups. The focus was to see if some markers of heart attack risk could change based upon alcohol or dealcoholized wine consumption. Though they were eating similar diets, group 1 drank red wine, group 2 drank dealcoholized red wine, group 3 drank gin. Four weeks later, group 2 that was given dealcoholized red wine had lower blood pressure and higher nitric oxide compared to group 1 and 3. This study suggests that dealcoholized red wine can also decrease cardiovascular risk compared to regular red wine.³
1. Cordova A, Sumpio B. “Polyphenols are medicine: Is it time to prescribe red wine for our patients?” Int J Angiol. 2009 Autumn, 18 (3) : 111-117.
2. Lamont K et al. “Lowering the alcohol content of red wine does not alter its cardioprotective properties.” S Afr Med J. 2012: 102 (6) : 565-567.
3. Chiva-Blanch G et al. “Dealcoholized red wine decreases
systolic and diastolic blood pressure and increases plasma nitric oxide.”
2012; 111: 1065-1068.