Medical Q&As

Red wine - prevent heart attack?

Iíve heard a lot about the health benefits of drinking red wine and I am wondering if eating a handful of red grapes, as a substitute would have similar health benefits?

Various studies have suggested that drinking red wine can reduce the risk of heart disease. This may explain why French people have a lower incidence of heart disease than the Irish and British despite eating a diet that contains similar amounts of saturated fat. One recent study suggests that extracts from red wine may inhibit the formation of endothelin-1, which is a chemical that makes blood vessels constrict. The study further suggested that blocking endothelin-1 might also reduce the formation of fatty streaks within the walls of the coronary arteries. These effects were not observed with white or rosé wine. The researchers suggested that the compounds responsible for this effect were polyphenols, which are only present in the skins of red grapes. Therefore it is possible that eating red grapes might have similar effects but I am not aware of any research evidence to support that hypothesis.