Studies come and go extolling the benefits of having a glass of red wine (aside from stress relief) now and then (and now), so add this one to the mix. It claims that red wine has the potential to improve your gut health.
The study of almost 3,000 drinkers in the U.S., the U.K., and the Netherlands revealed that red wine drinkers have a higher diversity of gut microbiota than those who prefer beer, cider, or white wines, even when controlling for age, weight, diet, and socioeconomic status.
Having a healthy gut microbiome has been linked to physical and mental health, including curbing food cravings and the efficacy of certain medicines.
The King’s College research was led by Caroline Le Roy, who issued a statement about their findings.
“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.”
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They’re still looking into why this might be the case, though they posit it has to do with active compounds called polyphenols that are found in the beverage. The chemicals are found in the grape skins, and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that may help fuel the microbes living in our guts.
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The same chemicals are found in chocolate and coffee, so maybe take a look at those, too.
“Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the gut microbiota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect. If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, 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. However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.”
Moderation is key with alcohol consumption, of course, and the authors point out that people often underreport their consumption, for obvious reasons – and also that there was no way for them to determine the causal relationship between drinking red wine and health.
But if you’re going to pick up an alcoholic beverage, red wine seems like the best possible choice.