If you have a habit of consuming one to two glasses (no more than two) of red wine daily, then congratulations, you probably have lower risk of heart disease.
A recent study from King’s College London (KCL) revealed other benefits of drinking moderate amount of red wine daily. People who drink red wine have an increased gut microbiota diversity, lower levels of obesity and cholesterol compared to non-red wine drinkers.
About the study
Researchers in KCL tracked gut microbiome (GM) and subsequent health in 916 UK female twins who drank beer, cider, red wine, white wine and spirits, and found that the GM of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to others.
“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 Dr. Caroline Le Roy, first author of the study.
Gut microbiota is the name of the microbe population living in our intestine. The GM contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes, which are 150 times more than human genes.
The GM is different in every single person’s intestine, which makes it an individual identity card. Although it varies a lot, it fulfills the same physiological functions in different people:
- Helps the body to digest;
- Helps produce vitamins B and K;
- Helps combat aggressions from other microorganisms and performs as a barrier of the immune system.
Generally, a person’s gut microbiome with a higher number of different bacterial species is considered a marker of gut health.
How red wine is effective
Researchers observed groups of people from the UK, the U.S. and the Netherlands, and found a greater number of different bacterial species in red wine consumers than non-consumers. Taking factors like age, weight, regular diets and socioeconomic status of the participants into consideration, the researchers wanted to see the association.
They believe that the many polyphenols, a kind of defense chemicals naturally found in fruits and vegetables in red wine helps develop a great diversity of the GM.
Lower levels of obesity and cholesterol were also linked to the benefits of red wine according to the study.
“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. However, it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation," added Dr. Le Roy.