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If You Had to Choose One Alcohol Type, Let It Be Red Wine

Edited By: Natalia Jones
 The vast majority of alcoholic beverages do more harm than good for our health, particularly our brains and our digestive systems, but are all alcohol varieties made equal? It all depends on the dosage, of course, as a lot of any kind of food or drink is unhealthy, but if consumed in moderation, the alcoholic beverage of choice is red wine. But don’t take it from us, as there is plenty of scientific evidence to back this claim.
Previous studies have shown that red wine is stimulating for the brain and outlined many other known health benefits of red wine. But the most recent one of the bunch, an article published in late August 2019, in the journal ‘Gastroenterology’ suggests that the polyphenol antioxidants in red wine may promote the long-term health of one’s digestive system if consumed in moderation. More on these findings below.

What Effect Does Red Wine Have on the Digestive System? 

red wine and gut health woman drinking red wine dinner
The study was conducted at King's College London in the United Kingdom, and it observed the diversity of gut microbiome and other digestive health markers in 916 female twins. The goal of the study was to research the effect of different types of alcohol, specifically red and white wine, beer, cider, and strong drinks had on the digestive system. The researchers looked at 3 separate cohorts of participants (those from the UK, the Netherlands, and the USA), and controlled for possible confounds, such as age, diet, and socioeconomic status, all of which adds credibility to their findings.
As for the findings themselves, the study concluded that red wine was the only alcoholic beverage associated with an increased number of different beneficial gut bacteria, as well as a smaller likelihood of obesity and lower cholesterol levels. All in all, drinking red wine was found to have a beneficial long-term effect on digestive health and the phytochemicals responsible for these beneficial effects were suggested to be polyphenols.
The authors suggest that the polyphenols acted as nourishment for the different gut bacteria and promoted their growth. Apart from promoting gut health, polyphenols are known for being capable of lowering one’s risk of the following conditions:
  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity.

How Much Wine Is Considered ‘a Moderate Amount’?

red wine and gut health a glass of red wine
The findings of this and previous studies convinced us that drinking a little red wine is beneficial for our overall health, but how much red wine are we talking about, exactly? Although previous estimates have mentioned quantities like 1 or half a glass daily, the authors of the present study state that not much is needed, with only one glass once every 2 weeks being able to yield the beneficial health effects.
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