Red wine good for gut health, says study
It might sound crazy but red wine is good for your gut health, suggested a new study.
The study published in the journal 'Gastroenterology' has found that red wine drinkers have an increased gut microbiota diversity (a sign of good gut health) compared to non-red wine drinkers.
It is also associated with lower levels of obesity and 'bad' cholesterol.
Researchers explored 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 found that the GM of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to non-red wine drinkers. The same wasn't observed with white wine, beer or spirits consumption.
"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 a healthier gut microbiota that partly explain its long-debated beneficial effects on health," said first author of the study, Dr Caroline Le Roy from King's College London.
The microbiome is the collection of microorganisms in an environment and plays an important role in human health.
The team observed that the gut microbiota of red wine consumers contained a greater number of different bacterial species compared to non-consumers.
This result was also observed in three different cohorts in the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands.
Factors which were taken into account were age, weight, the regular diet and socioeconomic status of the participants and continued to see the association.
The authors believe the main reason for the association is due to the many polyphenols in red wine.
Polyphenols are defence 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.
Lead author Professor Tim Spector from King's College London explained, "It provides insights that the high levels of polyphenols in the grape skin could be responsible for much of the controversial health benefits when used in moderation."
The study also found that red wine consumption was associated with lower levels of obesity and 'bad' cholesterol which was in part due to the gut microbiota.
"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," opined Dr. Le Roy.