Can Non-Alcoholic Red Wine Lower Blood Pressure?
I've heard anecdotally that red wine lowers blood pressure and that got me thinking about non-alcoholic wine and the effect that might have on blood pressure. I decided to do some research and see if there’s any evidence to show that non-alcoholic wine can help your blood pressure.
The first surprise I had was no direct evidence for red wine reducing blood pressure, but continuing my research I found a different result for non-alcoholic wine.
One study showed that non-alcoholic red wine did lower blood pressure due to the polyphenols (antioxidants) found in red wine, without the alcohol to reduce their effect, but it’s not as simple as it first appears.
I decided to look into why alcoholic and non-alcoholic wines have different effects on blood pressure and also to check out why it’s only red wine (not white or rosé) that can help blood pressure.
Note: I’m not a medical professional and have based this article on my research. Please ensure you read the Medical Advice Disclaimer at the end of this article.
Red Wine and Blood Pressure
We've all seen headlines talking about the health benefits of red wine which often include comments on how it can be good for your heart by reducing blood blood pressure. After doing some research into this claim, it seems it's not quite that simple.
Over the years, studies have shown a link between good heart health and people drinking a moderate amount of red wine. However, there’s been no research that’s been able to prove a cause and effect link between the two.
Instead, it could just be that red wine drinkers have improved diets or follow healthier lifestyles and these are the causes for lower blood pressure low, not the red wine they drink.
One of the reasons it has been suggested that red wine could reduce blood pressure is because it contains polyphenols. Which raises the next question…
What are Polyphenols?
Polyphenols are antioxidants that occur naturally in lots of fruits and are commonly found in the skin of grapes. As red wine contains polyphenols, it’s suspected that these may help reduce blood pressure.
There are a number of different polyphenols including resveratrol. In one study on mice resveratrol has been shown to relax the blood vessels and help reduce blood pressure in the mice. However, the quantity as resveratrol used on the mice would be the equivalent of human drinking 1,000 bottles of red wine a day. With the differences between people and mice and the amount of resveratrol used, it seems it’s hard to use this as evidence that red wine could reduce blood pressure.
Does White or Rosé Wine Help Blood Pressure?
The discussion so far has been focused on red wine, not white or rosé wine which begs the question - why?
Different levels of polyphenols are found in white, rosé and red wines due to the different ways the wines are made. The polyphenols are naturally found in the skin of the grape so the more time the wine has the skins absorbed, the higher levels of polyphenols in the wine.
All three wines begin life in the same way with the grapes being crushed to extract the juice to allow the fermentation to begin. Where things change for each different colour is how quickly the skin and seeds are removed after crushing the grapes.
White wine has the seeds and skin removed immediately after the grapes are crushed. Whereas the Rose wine has the skin and seeds are left in the grape juice for a short time to allow some of the flavours to be transferred into the wine before being removed.
For red wine, the seeds and skin are left with the juice for a far longer time. This allows more of the flavours and colour to be absorbed into the wine, hence the colour and richer flavours normally found in red wines. The added benefit to the wine of this longer time with the grape skins is that the polyphenols also get transferred from the skin into the wine giving red wine higher levels of polyphenols than both white and rose wine.
If you were to drink wine to lower your blood pressure, red wine should be the one to choose and the most likely to have an impact, not white or rosé wine.
Alcohol and your health - beyond blood pressure
If red wine has these polyphenols with their antioxidant qualities, does this mean that we should be reducing our blood pressure by knocking back the 1,000 bottles of red wine the mice study suggested?
Other than the obvious horrific mess and slightly impossible nature of drinking 1,000 bottles of wine a day would cause, there's also the issue of the alcohol in the wine. The irony of drinking red wine to try and reduce your blood pressure is that actually once you start drinking above the recommended daily allowance of alcohol, the alcohol will actually start to increase your blood pressure.
Then there are the other negative impacts that drinking alcohol can have, including increased risk of cancer, reduced quality of sleep and poor muscle recovery after exercise.
With all these negative impacts on our health, it seems counter intuitive to be talking about drinking wine to improve your health. However, we've not discussed non-alcoholic wine yet.
Maybe it’s time to see if dealcoholizing wine make a difference?
Research in Non-Alcoholic Wine & Blood Pressure
A study was completed looking at the effects of drinking red wine and non-alcoholic red wine on blood pressure. Researchers took a group of 67 men aged between 55 and 75 that showed risk factors for heart disease and diabetes and asked them to drink certain drinks over three separate four-week periods.
During each four-week period, they would drink a controlled amount of one of three drinks:
- Red wine
- Non-alcoholic red wine
The subjects were split into groups and each randomly allocated an order of drinks giving six possible combinations of beverages. The researchers also asked all the volunteers to abstain from alcohol for the two weeks prior to the research beginning.
Throughout the duration of the study the researchers measured blood pressure in each of the subjects and at the end of the study they were able to show the impact on blood pressure each drink had over it’s four-week period.
The gin had no impact on the subject’s blood pressure, whilst the red wine led to a small reduction in blood pressure across the groups.
The non-alcoholic wine had the largest impact with the reduction in blood pressure across the subjects equivalent to amounts that have been associated with a 14% reduction in coronary heart disease and 20% reduction in stroke risk.
The study showed the alcohol-free wine caused the greater reduction in blood pressure in subjects over the four-week period than alcoholic red wine. As the gin had no impact on blood pressure, the reduction in blood pressure was attributed to the polyphenols in the red wine, not the alcohol.
Does This Prove Alcohol-Free Red Wine Reduces Blood Pressure?
It's hard to say whether or not this study proves that alcohol free wine reduces blood pressure. The results of the study showed a reduction in blood pressure for those people that took part in the study. However, there's no escaping the fact it was a very small group of only 67 men in a specific age category.
Even the outcome of the study stated “Consumption of dealcoholized red wine might be useful in preventing low- to moderate-degree hypertension.”
Whether or not the same results would be reflected in a larger study or with a broader demographic, it's hard to say. Dr. Deepak Bhatt, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, reviewed the study and said “I wouldn’t ever make a clinical recommendation based on just one small study. However, if you happen to like non-alcoholic red wine and drink it anyway, it might be worthwhile to see if it helps your high blood pressure”
Non-Alcoholic Wines To Try
If after reading about that research and the doctor's closing comments you've decided that you would like to try non-alcoholic red wines and see if it helps reduce your blood pressure, we've pulled together three of our red wines for you to try.
Torres Natureo Syrah
I'll start this list with my favourite, the Torres Natureo Syrah. Made by the Familia Torres winery who have been perfecting their dealcoholised wines since 2008.
This exceptional red wine as in alcohol content of 0.0% it's packed with flavour. The brilliant Ruby red colour hides within subtle fruit aromas of cherry and red plum that’s smooth on the palate. Like most non-alcoholic wines, there’s a slightly sweet edge across the flavours.
Very Cautious One Shiraz
The Very Cautious One Shiraz has a vibrant berry colour that reflects the lush berry fruits contained in the flavours of this wine. There’s also a sweet vanillin oak and soft tannins that give this such a rich and warm structure to the flavours.
Using the process of distillation under vacuum allows the wine to be dealcoholised at a low temperature maximising the flavour and aroma giving wine lovers a rich palate of flavour, but without the alcohol.
Ebony Vale Cabernet Sauvignon
This wonderful non-alcoholic Ebony Vale Cabernet Sauvignon is crammed full of fruity flavours of plum and red Berry which are carried through into its rich aroma. This wine is smooth on the palate that is again finished off with a slightly sweeter edge.
Ebony Vale cleverly harvest grapes early to ensure lower levels of sugar which helps reduce the potential alcohol during fermentation. By using these grapes and fermenting at low temperatures they were able to achieve an excellent colour and aroma without the risk of damaging the wine from harsh dealcoholisation.
Non-Alcoholic Wines Aren’t For Everyone
It's worth remembering that due to the label in laws for dealcoholised wine, there may be up to 0.5% abv more alcohol in the wine than is shown on the label. A wine that's labelled 0.5% this means you could actually be drinking up to 1% abv.
For some people with certain medical conditions, personal preferences, pregnancy or other situations, they may not want to drink a wine that potentially has this much alcohol. There are also some medications recommend not drinking alcohol at the same time so the potential abv of non-alcoholic wine should also be remembered.
If in doubt, it’s best to seek professional medical advice on whether or not drinking non-alcoholic wine would be suitable for you.
Is Alcohol-Free Wine Good for Blood Pressure?
I decided to write this blog after hearing anecdotally that red wine can help reduce your blood pressure. From doing the research, it seems that the link between alcoholic red wine reducing blood pressure is an associated link but hasn't actually been proven. Instead, it could be the associated lifestyles of red wine drinkers as that helps reduce their blood pressure.
Due to the way it’s made, there's no doubt about it that red wine does contain higher levels of the polyphenol antioxidants than both white and rosé wine, making red wine the most likely to reduce blood pressure.
The study featured above did provide evidence the drinking alcohol-free wine would reduce blood pressure and consequently reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. However, due to the small size of the study and narrow demographic it's hard to draw any strong conclusions.
Without further studies into the effect of non-alcoholic red wine on blood pressure, I think it's best if I finish by repeating the words of Dr. Bhatt:
If you happen to like non-alcoholic red wine and drink it anyway, it might be worthwhile to see if it helps your high blood pressure.
Buy Yours Today
If you'd like to try some non-alcoholic wines, you can click the links below to buy the red wines we stock:
Or if you'd like to try all three and see which one is your favourite before buying a case, you can always try a red wine variety pack. Just click the link below:
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