Antioxidants in red wine appear to have positive effects on the arteries of people with heart disease, according to a Greek study.
A team from Harokopio University in Athens found that both red wine, and wine that had the alcohol removed, reduced artery stiffness in 15 subjects with coronary artery disease.
This condition - defined stiff arteries - raises blood pressure and puts patients at risk for heart attack.
Because the effects were observed with non-alcoholic wine, the researchers attributed these effects to antioxidants in the red wine.
The double-blind, cross-over study, reported in the September issue of the American Journal of Hypertension (vol 18, issue 9, pp1161-7), also showed that after consuming either 250ml of regular or dealcoholized red wine, patients saw a significant decrease in central systolic blood pressure, the top reading of the blood pressure.
Central systolic blood pressure fell 7.4 mm Hg and 5.4 mm Hg after consumption of red wine and non-alcoholic red wine, respectively.
The mechanisms for the reduction of arterial stiffness are not well understood.