Objective: Despite being recognized as a cause of hypertension at higher doses, consumption of lesser amounts of alcohol appears to protect against cardiovascular disease and acutely reduces blood pressure. We tested the hypothesis that two glasses of red wine, taken together with the noon meal, would cause postprandial reduction in blood pressure in hypertensive individuals.
Method: Thirteen (8 female) middle-aged, centrally obese, hypertensive and otherwise healthy participants received, in an open randomized crossover experiment, red wine (250 ml to approximately 23 g of ethanol) and a placebo equivalent, together with a standardized lunch. Blood pressure was measured with 24-hour ambulatory monitoring.
Results: Wine with the meal produced a mean (SD) reduction of 5.3 (7.66) mmHg in postprandial blood pressure (p = .03), which persisted for most of the remaining daytime interval. The maximal blood pressure reduction was 8.5 (11.84) mmHg, occurring 3 hours after intervention (p = .02). In addition, nocturnal dipping in systolic blood pressure was lessened during the wine intervention period (5.3 [10.19] vs 11.1 [8.08] mmHg; p = .03).
Conclusions: Ingestion of 250 ml of red wine, together with the noon meal, resulted in reduction of the postprandial blood pressure of centrally obese, hypertensive subjects. The effect lasted throughout most of the remaining daytime interval and appeared to modify the usual blood pressure variation pattern.