Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Do grapes and grape juice protect the heart like wine does?

Ask the doctor

Do grapes and grape juice protect the heart like wine does?

Q. For the health of my heart and arteries, how does regular consumption of red wine compare with grape juice or the equivalent in grapes?

A. You are asking a question that science hasn't caught up with, especially when it comes to grape juice and grapes. Let's start by looking at what you get with each of these.

Grapes of all colors are chock-full of antioxidants and myriad other phytonutrients. Some that have been identified as possible cardioprotectors are flavonoids such as resveratrol and quercetin, procyanidins, tannins, and saponins. But keep in mind that the grapes you find in the grocery store aren't necessarily as hearty as those used for making wine and grape juice. And unless you eat the seeds along with the grapes, you won't get the nutrients sequestered there. Wine and grape juice contain substances leached from seeds, which are crushed during the pressing process. Grapes offer a small amount of fiber, which is good for the heart and digestive system, something neither wine nor grape juice deliver. It takes about 8""10 ounces of grapes (nearly two cups worth) to make a glass of wine or grape juice.

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