Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
Although wine may have some benefits (in moderation!), what about us non-alcoholic drinkers? Would eating red grapes or drinking grape juice be even better?
Having a glass of purple grape juice is beneficial to your heart. The antioxidant, resveratrol, is found in red wine and purple grape juice. But, drinking purple grape juice is even better than drinking red wine because you can drink enough juice to get the health benefits without becoming intoxicated.
STUDIES OF PURPLE GRAPE JUICE BENEFITS
Studies by John Folts, Ph.D. of the University of Wisconsin and Keevil, Osman, Jess, Reed, and Folts, compared different juices (grape, orange, and grapefruit) on platelet activity. The study found purple grape juice was associated with lower blood clotting and thus less risk of heart disease. In addition, regarding the benefits of wine, Dr. Folts had stated that to help prevent blood from clotting, the wine consumed would have to be at levels high enough to be declared legally drunk (Folts cited in University of Wisconsin-Madison News, 1997).
In addition, Dr. Folts found that the amount of purple grape juice needed for beneficial effects was about 10-12 ounces a day, and had a cumulative protective effect over time.
In another study, a comparison was made between wine with alcohol and wine without. The study by Jennifer RC Bell found that the flavonoid called Catechin in wine stayed in the body longer with the de-alcoholized wine compared to the regular wine (Bell, et. al., 2000).
Eating red grapes would be beneficial, but a large amount would be need to be consumed in order to match a glass of juice.
There are hundreds of grape varieties, and some are specifically for wine, juice, table, raisins, jams, or jellies (National Grape Registry, 2009).
Red wines are made from a wide variety of red grapes as often indicated by the name of the wine such as Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot.
On the other hand, purple grape juice, such as the well-known brand, Welch's, is made from a specific grape, the Concord grape, which is purple (Welch's, 2009). Although, the National Grape Registry considers the Concord grape to be black (2009).
Concord grapes are not usually found in grocery stores because they are grown for the juice business, plus these grapes contain seeds, and many consumers prefer seedless grapes for their table grapes (Concord Grape Association, 2004).
For more information about grapes, go to www.concordgrape.org, ngr.ucdavis.edu, www.welchs.com
For more information on the research studies go to http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/71/1/103 and www.news.wisc.edu/4751.html