Gemma Chiva-Blanch of the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona and colleagues studied 67 men with diabetes, or three or more cardiovascular risk factors, who ate a common diet plus one of the following drinks -- about 10 ounces of red wine, a similar amount of non-alcoholic red wine or about 3 ounces of gin.
All of the men tried each diet/beverage combination for four weeks.
The red wine and non-alcoholic wine contained equal amounts of polyphenols, an antioxidant that decreases blood pressure, Chiva-Blanch said.
The study, published in the journal Circulation Research, found during the red wine phase, the men had very little reduction in blood pressure and there was no change while drinking gin. However, after the men drank non-alcoholic red wine, blood pressure decreased by about 6 millimeters of mercury in systolic and 2 mmHg in diastolic blood pressure -- possibly reducing the risk of heart disease by 14 percent and stroke by as much as 20 percent, the study said.
Chiva-Blanch and the team concluded the alcohol in red wine weakens its ability to lower blood pressure, but polyphenols -- still present after alcohol is removed from wine -- are likely the beneficial element in wine.
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