Can Drinking Red Wine Result in a Healthy Gut?

Mild consumption of some varieties of red wine may enhance health, study shows.

What is a Healthy Gut?

A healthy gut is linked to having a healthy dose of good bacteria. Sure, having bacteria might not sound like a good thing, but studies show that there are good bacteria and there are bad bacteria — and good bacteria aid in maintaining your body’s overall good health.

What are Good Bacteria?

There are up to 500 different kind bacteria living in your gut right now. And just as each person is unique, each gut is unique, too. The makeup of your gut is inherited genetically by your mother and is also influenced by your diet and your lifestyle, (like if you exercise, or if you smoke).

Research suggests that your gut bacteria are linked to the probability of you acquiring, or avoiding, certain ailments linked to overall good health. So, the more good bacteria you have over bad bacteria is important.


Red Wine and Good Bacteria

Studies done on the connection of red wine and gut health find that consuming a certain amount of red wine with a low-dose of alcohol may be linked with maintaining good gut bacteria, which is linked with good health.

“The study results showed that Merlot and low-alcohol red wine had similar positive effects on intestinal bacteria... researchers suspect it's not due to the alcohol but to the polyphenol compounds found in the wine.”

This study appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


What are Polyphenol Compounds?

Polyphenols are phytochemicals that are found mostly in natural, plant-based products. They are rich in antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important because they help prevent cell damage that is caused by oxidants. When you’re young, your body can repair cell damage easier. But as you get older, the body is less efficient in repairing cell damage.

Red wine is rich in polyphenol compounds, (groups of polyphenols), and antioxidants, as is chocolate, and dark greens, for example.

Tell Us More About this Study

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The study followed ten middle-aged men, all already in good health.

The men consumed no alcohol for the first 15 days of the study. Following this was three 20-day time periods in which the men were separated into three groups and given one of the following to consume each day:

  • 9 ounces of Merlot
  • 9 ounces of low-alcohol-content red wine
  • or 3 ounces of gin
  • Gin was used in the control group because it contains no polyphenols.

The men’s weight and blood pressure were monitored, and they were asked not to change their usual daily routines, including diet and exercise.

The results of the study found that the gut bacteria changed in the groups of men who consumed low-alcohol-content wine, and Merlot; they had acquired a larger percentage of good gut bacteria.

Will You Pour Me a Glass of Merlot?

Nine ounces of red wine is equivalent to about one cup. Excess drinking is not scientifically tied to a healthy gut.

We have suggested wine pairings for all of our recipes. Take a look and see what we paired with your favorite meal kits.