Dr. Katz
Photo: Mackenzie Stroh
Q. I've read that drinking red wine benefits the heart. Does 100 percent red grape juice have the same healthy effect?

—Mona Kruse, Milan, Illinois

A. With grape juice, you'd be missing out on wine's alcohol, which in moderation raises protective HDL cholesterol, makes platelets less apt to stick to one another, and increases a chemical in the body that helps dissolve blood clots (it's called tPA, or tissue plasminogen, and it's used as a drug to treat heart attacks and strokes in emergency rooms.) But I don't recommend you start drinking just for your heart. Both wine and 100 percent grape juice, especially the dark purple Concord variety, have another ingredient with cardiovascular benefits: flavonoids, antioxidants that are concentrated in the skin of grapes. You can also get flavonoids from coffee, dark chocolate, fish, vegetables, fruits, and green tea. So if red wine isn't your cup of tea, have the grape juice. Or, for that matter, the tea.