Another reason to raise your wine glasses. A new study from Kings College London suggests that people who drink red wine in moderation may have a greater diversity of intestinal microbiota, a key sign of their intestinal health, than those who do not consume it.
In a study of nearly 3,000 people in the United States, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, researchers explored the effects of beer, cider, and red and white wines on the gut microbiome, bringing together collectively the types of bacteria present in our gastrointestinal system. In recent years, several studies have established a link between the intestinal microbiome, physical and mental health, cravings and the effectiveness of certain medications. They found that red wine drinkers had a larger number of different bacterial species even taking into account age, weight, normal diet, and socioeconomic status. The study is published in the journal Gastroenterology
"Although we have known for a long time the unexplained benefits of red wine for heart health, this study shows that moderate consumption of red wine is associated with greater diversity and a healthier gut microbiota, which explains why part its health benefits discussed for a long time, "said the author of the study. Caroline Le Roy in a statement.
This may have to do with the active compounds found in the red wine called polyphenols. These chemicals are found in the skin of grapes and have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help fuel living microbes in our body. (Coincidentally, these same chemicals are found in other delicious things, like chocolate and coffee.) Researchers also noted lower levels of obesity and "bad" cholesterol among red wine drinkers.
"Although we have observed an association between red wine consumption and intestinal microbiota diversity, drinking red wine infrequently, for example once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect. If you have to choose an alcoholic beverage today, it's red wine because it seems to potentially have a beneficial effect on you and your intestinal microbes, which can also contribute to the weight and risk of heart disease. However, it is always advisable to consume alcohol in moderation, added Le Roy.
The authors warn quickly that self-reported alcohol consumption is often underestimated and has been captured differently in all three groups. It was therefore difficult to take into account different health considerations, especially since the body mass index was the only common health factor available in all cohorts. Finally, the authors write that "the cross-sectional and observational nature of this study does not allow us to determine the cause-and-effect relationships between red wine consumption, GMO composition and health".
Nicknamed the "French paradox", the scientific community has spent a lot of time exploring how "good" wine can be. Of course, the study in question only explained the benefits of red wine compared to other types of wine, cider and beer – but what about those who do not drink alcohol? A large-scale study published in 2018 revealed that there was no "safe level of alcohol" and that smoking cessation was even related to health and well being -being women. For this, researchers say everything in moderation.