Another theory is that something in red wine help decreases the "stickiness" of blood and decreases the risk of a blood clot that could cause a heart attack, O'Neill said.
"We always want to get out a magic potion, and put it in pill form, but this study shows us that it's more complicated," he said.
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum is a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She noted that the people in the study had borderline high blood pressure, and the results may not apply to people with higher blood pressure levels. The study also only lasted a month, she said, and the benefits from polyphenols might take longer to accrue.
"There are multiple components in red wine and taken together, these ingredients have been shown to decrease blood pressure and prevent clotting and heart attacks," Steinbaum said. Moderate consumption of red wine is also part of the Mediterranean diet or lifestyle, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. "This lifestyle is good for heart health," she said.
Research presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
There's more on high blood pressure at the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
SOURCES: Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., preventive cardiologist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; William O'Neill, M.D., professor, cardiology, and executive dean for clinical affairs, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.; Ilse Botden, graduate student, University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands; Sept. 23, 2011, presentation, American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Research meeting, Orlando
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