If you need an excuse for a glass or two, then listen up. New research has found that red wine could actually be good for you. The drink is thought to be helpful to the gut, as it increases the number of different types of useful bacteria that can live there.
Kings College London found that the benefits are likely to come from polyphenols compounds, which white wine, beer and cider have far less of in comparison.
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Research suggested that a glass a fortnight was enough to make a difference, although academics pointed out that the findings aren’t an excuse to binge.
Polyphenols, also found in many fruits and vegetables, are micro-nutrients that act as fuel for useful microbes living inside our bowels, according to the BBC.
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The study, published in Gastroenterology, was conducted on thousands people living in the UK, US and the Netherlands. All the participants were twins and were asked about their diet, what alcohol they typically drank and how much they consumed.
The gut microbiota of red wine drinkers was more diverse than in non-red wine drinkers. The diversity increased the more red wine a person consumed, although having one glass a week or fortnight appeared to be sufficient.
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Researcher Dr Caroline Le Roy said: “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.
“You do not need to drink every day and it is still advised to consume alcohol with moderation.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR UK.