It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.
Is there a substitute for red wine? Perhaps grape juice made from grapes rather than concentrate? I do not drink alcohol at all and would not do so even for the benefits of red wine.
There is good evidence that drinking grape juice has many of the same benefits as drinking red wine. The antioxidant polyphenols in red grape juice have been shown to have positive effects on cholesterol in the same way as red wine. Much of the research that has been done is in the test tube and there are not large scale trials in humans to support this yet. That said, the action of the red grape juice acts very much like red wine.
While we know that there are some benefits from drinking alcohol it appears that for those not wanting to consume alcohol, drinking red grape juice is a fine alternative.
Interestingly, most of the research that has been done on red grape juice has been done with juice concentrate, so it's not necessary to drink only fresh juice. Likewise, since there's a lot of the antioxidants in the skin of fresh grapes, that would be a good choice for you as well.
Thanks for writing,
Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP