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Ask Tufts Experts November 2015 Issue

Q. Are the health benefits of drinking red grape juice similar to those I read about for red wine?

A. Jensine Yang, a dietetic intern at Tufts’ Frances Stern Nutrition Center, answers: “Possibly. When consumed in moderation, red wine claims some of its heart health benefits from the vasodilatory (blood vessel-widening) effects of alcohol. But in terms of antioxidant benefits, there’s increasing evidence that drinking red wine and drinking red grape juice are quite similar. Both contain flavonoids and resveratrol, which are polyphenols or beneficial plant metabolites concentrated in the skin and seeds of red grapes. Studies have shown that resveratrol inhibits platelet aggregation, reduces blood pressure and prevents endothelial damage to the lining of blood vessels. However, a study published in the journal Circulation Research in 2012 found that alcohol interferes with the protective effect of polyphenols in red wine. Taking this into account, drinking red grape juice may be the better alternative for getting your dose of antioxidants. As with all fruit juice, though, be wary of the high sugar content.”

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