Red wine can be good for your health and your intestines … if you take it in moderation.
A group of researchers from Kings College in London, United Kingdom. Confirmed that this drink increases the number of certain bacteria that help the intestines.
The benefits are associated with polyphenols, a chemical found in red grapes. That is why they are in greater quantity in red wine than in white, beer or cider.
A glass of red wine every two weeks should be enough to appreciate the difference. Although researchers say these components are not exclusive to alcoholic beverages.
Polyphenols are also found in many fruits and vegetables – such as lentils, beans, peas, soybeans or tomatoes – but those that are the same type as red grapes are in strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.
Because they are important?
Polyphenols such as the resveratrol of the skin of red grapes are micronutrients that are believed to have beneficial properties and act as fuel for the microbes that live in our intestines.
Our intestines contain billions of bacteria and other microorganisms, and this community of «friendly bugs» helps us stay healthy.
There are more and more studies that suggest that some small changes in our intestinal flora may make us more susceptible to diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease.
Our diet, lifestyle and some types of medications can alter our balanced intestinal ecosystem.
What does the research say?
The study, which was published in the medical journal Gastroenterology, which includes topics on intestinal diseases, analyzed data from thousands of people living in the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands.
Participants – all of them twins involved in medical research programs – were asked about their diet and the type of alcohol they usually consume.
And the scientists observed that the intestinal flora of red wine drinkers is more diverse than that of non-drinkers.
The diversity of intestinal bacteria increases according to the amount of red wine a person consumes, although occasionally drinking a glass per week or fortnight seems to be sufficient, according to research.
None of the participants is a great drinker, they point out.
The researchers say that excessive consumption is not recommended and would likely have a negative effect on intestinal bacteria, as well as on a person’s general health.
What else do the experts say?
Researcher Caroline Le Roy told the BBC that it is an “observational” study that does not allow a direct cause to be established, but it does conclude that among all alcoholic beverages, red wine is the one that has the most potential benefits over intestinal microbes. »
Le Roy also said that better intestinal flora can help you lose weight and avoid cardiovascular problems.
But he stressed the following: «It is not necessary to drink (wine) every day and it is still recommended to consume alcohol in moderation.»
Alcoholic beverages. The consumption of alcoholic beverages should always be moderate.
The researcher, who has a PhD in Microbiology, also said she would like to do a follow-up study that offers people red wine, alcohol-free or red grape juice to see what effect each of these drinks has on the intestinal flora.
“We are beginning to know more about intestinal bacteria. It is complex and we need more research, but we know that the more diversity there is, the better it seems to be for our health. ”
Alex White, a scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, told the BBC: «The findings of this study are interesting, and the effects of our diet on intestinal bacteria is a very interesting scientific area.»
«However, more research is needed before reaching firm conclusions about the links between red wine intake and changes in intestinal flora, and if this is likely to generate tangible health benefits.»
«It should be remembered that alcohol consumption in large quantities is related to an increased risk of a variety of health problems, including some cancers, heart disease, stroke and liver disease.»
«To keep the risks at a low level, it is recommended that you do not drink more than 14 glasses per week on a regular basis.»