Wine without alcohol is better for your heart

We've heard a lot about the supposed benefits of booze over the years, especially wine -- so much that I worry people might actually start to drink because they think it's healthy.

And that's simply not the case.

There are much better ways to get the health benefits people associate with drinking, and a new study makes my case perfectly by showing how alcohol-free wine is better for your heart than the real thing.

In a series of tests, 10 ounces of alcohol-free red wine lowered blood pressure in men with either diabetes or three risk factors for heart disease.

Those levels fell by an average of 6 points on the systolic ("top number") and 2 points on the diastolic ("bottom number"), or enough to lower the risk of heart disease by 14 percent and stroke by 20 percent, statistically speaking.

When the same men spent four weeks drinking regular wine, on the other hand, their BP levels barely budged. And when they drank gin, their BP levels didn't change at all.

This study offers some pretty clear evidence that the heart-healthy benefits often attributed to booze in general aren't from the alcohol -- they're from the polyphenols and antioxidants found in wine, and that the alcohol can actually cancel out most if not all of those benefits.

But if you really want to give yourself a boost, don't waste your time with wine -- alcohol-free or otherwise. Many of the studies on resveratrol and the other nutrients in wine use very high levels of the stuff -- so high that you'd have to drink hundreds of glasses a day to get those same amounts.

Normally, I'm all for getting nutrients from diet. But in this case, it's not only impossible -- it would be dangerous or deadly to even try. So if you want resveratrol or any of the other nutrients in wine, don't get them from a wineglass.

Get them from a quality supplement instead.