A new research has found that moderate red wine consumption is good for gut health because it increases the number of different types of helpful bacteria that can live there.
According to the study, published in the journal Gastroenterology, polyphenols (like resveratrol found in red grapes), which are a group of micronutrients thought to have beneficial properties and act as fuel for the proliferation of useful microbes in human bowel, are partly responsible for this.
These micronutrients/compounds may also improve digestion, brain function, and blood sugar levels, as well as protect against blood clots, heart disease, and degenerative pathologies like certain kinds of cancer.
The researchers observed the diets of people living in the United Kingdom; the United States; and the Netherlands, including the kind of alcohol they consumed and found the gut microbiota of red wine drinkers to be more diverse than that of non-red wine drinkers.
They also found diversity with respect to the gut bug to have increased in relation to an increment in the quantity of red wine the study participants consumed, although, none of them were reported to be binge drinkers.
Caroline Le Roy, a lead researcher of the study, warned that the findings do not make an excuse for excessive drinking as this might probably have an undesirable effect on gut bugs as well of a person’s health in general.
“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,” she said.
“This is an observational study so we cannot prove that the effect we see is caused by red wine. You do not need to drink every day and it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.”
While stating that one glass of red wine a week or fortnight appeared to be sufficient for the participants, Caroline said more research would be needed to clearly define the complex workings of how these compounds could impact human health.
“More research is needed before making any firm conclusions about any associations between red wine intake and changes in the gut flora, and whether this is likely to result in tangible health benefits,” said Alex White, an assistant nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation.
“It should be remembered that high levels of alcohol intake are linked with an increased risk of a range of health problems including some cancers, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease. Adults should not drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis.”
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