In a new study, researchers found that people who drank red wine had an increased gut microbiota diversity (a sign of gut health) compared to non-red wine drinkers.
These red wine drinkers also had lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol.
The research was conducted by a team from King’s College London.
The 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.
In the study, the team explored the effect of beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits on the gut microbiome and subsequent health in a group of 916 UK female twins.
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.
The gut microbiota of red wine consumers contained a greater number of different bacterial species compared to than non-consumers.
This result was also observed in three different cohorts in the UK, the U.S., and the Netherlands.
The researchers believe the main reason for the association is due to the many polyphenols in red wine. 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.
The study also found that red wine consumption was linked to lower levels of obesity and ‘bad’ cholesterol which was in part due to the gut microbiota.
The findings suggest that moderate red wine consumption is linked to greater diversity and healthier gut microbiota and may improve people’s overall health.
The lead author of the study is Professor Tim Spector from King’s College London.
The study is published in the journal Gastroenterology.
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