Researchers at King’s College London analysed the effects of different alcoholic beverages – including white wine, beer and spirits –on the microbiome of 3000 women across the UK, US and the Netherlands. They found that red wine drinkers had a healthier composition of flora living in their intestines than the other participants. Experts put this down to the polyphenols present in the wine, which promote the growth of ‘good’ bacteria.
“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,” the researchers explained.
“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.”
But before you go hitting up the 2-for-1 deals at Dan Murphy’s, hold tight a sec: the study’s lead author, Dr Caroline Le Roy warned against over-indulging. In fact, she advised that one drink every two weeks was enough to reap the rewards.
“If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial on you and your gut microbes,” she added. “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.”
This article originally appeared on Women's Health Australia.