London, England—People who drink red wine have better gut health, according to a new study from King’s College London.
A team of researchers explored the effects of beer, cider, red wine, white wine, and spirits on the gut microbiome in a group of 916 UK female twins, according to a press release. They found that the gut microbiome of red wine drinkers was more diverse compared to non-red wine drinking, an association not seen in those who drank white wine, beer, or spirits.
These results were observed in cohorts in the UK, U.S., and Belgium, and they were reached after the researchers took into account factors including age, weight, diet, and socioeconomic status.
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The authors believe the main reason for the association is the polyphenols in red wine, the release says. Polyphenols are best known as antioxidants, but they have a variety of beneficial properties, and mainly act as fuel for microbes.
Caroline Le Roy, first author of the study, said in the release: “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.” However, she notes, “Drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect.”