Good news for people who love a glass of red wine – it turns out the popular beverage is good for your gut health.
According to a study publised by researchers with King’s College London, red wine drinkers have “increased gut microbiota diversity” (which is a sign of good gut health) compared to those who drink white wine, beer or spirits.
Researchers arrived at this conclusion by exploring “the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine, and spirits on the gut microbiome (GM) and subsequent health in a group of 916 UK female twins.” They also studied other groups in America and the Netherlands.
The study took various factors into account such as age, weight, diet and socioeconomic status of all participants.
However, researchers noted that they found the same results across the board.
The study says microbiome “is the collection of microorganisms in an environment and plays an important role in human health.
“An imbalance of ‘good’ microbes compared to ‘bad’ in the gut can lead to adverse health outcomes such as reduced immune system, weight gain or high cholesterol. A person’s gut microbiome with a higher number of different bacterial species is considered a marker of gut health,” the study explained.
“Good” microbes linked with drinking red wine may be so due to “polyphenols” found in the alcoholic substance.
“Polyphenols are defense chemicals naturally present in many fruits and vegetables. They have many beneficial properties (including antioxidants) and mainly act as a fuel for the microbes present in our system,” researchers said, and added that drinking red wine once every couple of weeks is enough to make a positive impact on gut health.
Authors of the study warned against binge-drinking alcohol, but when it comes to choosing a drink “red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease,” Caroline Le Roy, the first author of the study, said in a statement.
“While we have long known of the unexplained benefits of red wine on heart health, this study shows that moderate red wine consumption is associated with greater diversity and healthier gut microbiota that partly explain its long-debated beneficial effects on health,” she added.