Is it true that grape juice offers the same heart benefits as red wine? Perhaps,yes. Research studies suggest that red and purple grape juices may provide same cardiovascular benefits of red wine:
Reducing the risk of blood clots
Reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL,or bad) cholesterol
Preventing damage to blood vessels in your heart
Helping maintain a healthy blood pressure
Grapes are one of the most valued fruits worldwide. Although most of the parts of the grapevine are useful,primarily the grape is a major source of several phyto-chemicals such as resveratrol,phenolic acids,catechins,anthocyanins,anthocyanidins and flavonoids and other bioactive compounds. These are found mainly in the skin,stem,leaf and seeds of grapes,rather than in their pulp. The amount of antioxidants in grapes depends on many factors,including the kind of grapes,their geographic origin and how they are processed. Dark red and purple grapes tend to be higher in antioxidants than white or green grapes.
As a consequence of this variation,levels of antioxidants vary in the fermented end-product,which is wine. The red’wine hypothesis also suggests that red wine is more likely to confer cardiovascular benefits than white.
Poly-phenols found in grapes are known for their antioxidant,anti-microbial,anti-viral,anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. Resveratrol,the main biologically active constituent found in the skin of red wine grapes and red wine is known to impart special and more powerful health benefits reducing the incidence of chronic illnesses,such as cancer,inflammatory-mediated diseases including cardiovascular diseases,ischemic stroke,neurodegenerative disorders,cancer and ageing.
Interestingly,resveratrol is also known to have phyto-estrogen effects (plant estrogens which mimic estrogen effects). These are particularly useful for post-menopausal women and in osteoporosis.
The only obvious difference between wine and grape juice is the alcohol (ethanol) component in wine,which is produced during fermentation and serves to boost the effects of the phenolic compounds present in skins of grapes used in wine. All in all,grapes,grape juice and wine render health benefits due to their phyto-chemicals,specially resveratrol. Wine has calories from alcohol and grape juice has concentrated sugar,which may not be suitable for weight watchers and diabetics. Eating grapes can deliver the antioxidant benefits of wine and grape juice,alongwith dietary fibre.
Ishi Khosla is a former senior nutritionist at Escorts. She heads the Centre of Dietary Counselling and also runs a health food store. She feels that for complete well-being,one should integrate physical,mental and spiritual health. According to her: To be healthy should be the ultimate goal for all.