The Buzz about Grape Juice
OK, it's not wine. But it has many of its health benefits.
Even better news, for Sanford and other teetotalers, is that the
antioxidants in grape juice appear to linger in the body longer than do those
in wine. At the University of California, Davis, researchers took a 1996
cabernet sauvignon, removed all the alcohol, and asked a group of nine
volunteers to alternate between drinking the nonalcoholic wine one day and an
alcoholic version the next. In their findings, reported in the January 2000
issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a key antioxidant
called catechin remained in the blood for more than 4 hours after the
volunteers drank the nonalcoholic wine, compared to only 3.2 hours for the
full-strength cabernet. Apparently, alcohol hastens the breakdown of the
antioxidant in the blood, speeding its elimination from the body.
But wine may provide at least one benefit grape juice doesn't: Alcohol has
been shown to increase levels of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol, in the
Even so, if you're a non-drinker, grape juice is a terrific way to get many
of wine's potential health benefits, Folts says. If you do go for the juice,
choose the purple kind, which is far richer in antioxidant flavonoids than red
or white. Surprisingly, eating red table grapes won't provide as much
protection. That's because the juice is made by crushing not just the skin and
flesh but the seeds, too, which are especially rich in flavonoids. White grapes
and grape juice won't do either, because they don't contain the flavonoids that
purple or red grapes do.
Sanford can now rest assured. With a glass of purple grape juice with
breakfast or for an afternoon snack, her heart can realize the same benefits as
those of her wine-drinking friends. And if you don't want wine at dinner,
uncork one of the fine nonalcoholic reds on the market. They're loaded with
antioxidants as well as great flavor -- and you can drink all you like without
worrying about driving home.