Just In Time For the Weekend! Red Wine Supports A Healthy Gut
Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash
A new study published in the journal Gastroenterology by researchers from Kings College London has found that people who drank red wine had an increased gut microbiota diversity (a sign of gut health) compared to non-red wine drinkers, as well as an association with lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol. If there was ever a time to reach for a glass of red wine, it’s now!
Researchers explored the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the bacteria in the gut and overall health of a group of 916 female twins in the UK. They found that the gut microbiome of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to non-red wine drinkers. This was not observed with white wine, beer or spirits consumption.
Dr. Caroline Le Roy, author of the study explained, “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 explains its long debated beneficial effects on health.”
All About Your Gut Microbiome
Think about your gut the same way you think about your skin. Your skin is the first line of defense from the environment. When you get a cut for instance, bacteria is able to penetrate the body and cause damage. But, if our skin and immune systems are healthy, we wont have to worry about that bacteria, as our immune system will be able to fight it off. Your gut works in much of the same way.
The gut lining seals our external environment from our internal one, but it allows particles like the nutrients from our food in, in order for our bodies to use them to create the energy we need. If there are things getting into our gut that harm our bodies (antibiotics, microbial imbalances, pesticides, and processed foods), our immune system will be triggered to repair the damage. But if consistent harmful factors are introduced, the cycle of an unhealthy gut begins.
Polyphenols in Red Wine
Researchers of the study believe the main reason for the association between red wine and your gut is due to the many polyphenols in it. Polyphenols are defense chemicals naturally found in many fruits and vegetables. They have numerous beneficial properties – including antioxidants – and act as a fuel for the microbes present in our system.
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.
Dr. Le Roy further explains, “Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and gut microbiota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe the 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 my help weight and risk of heart disease.” Cheers!