If you have been looking for a reason to drink 2 glasses of wine, instead of the recommended one, then I have good news for you. A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that people have a higher levels of good bacteria and lower levels of bad bacteria in their intestines after drinking 2 glasses of wine. Now for those of you who are not looking to drink wine at all, there is also good news for you, too. The study also found similar benefits to dealcoholized wine.
The benefits were linked to the polyphenol, found in red wine, known as resveratrol. This is a powerful phytochemical that represents the colour and flavour of the grape, and is considered an anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and heart protective chemical. However, what is interesting is the new research is for not just about these benefits.
Resveratrol, as well other polyphenols, are now being researched as prebiotics and as such, can feed our good bacteria. This is more good news for those who do not want to drink wine or dealcoholized wine or any other kind of wine. This means you can eat grapes, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranates or any food that contains polyphenols and there are many. And as the research goes, this benefit may extend to all phytochemicals but it is too soon to say. What is known is that there is this complex relationship between the phytochemicals and the good bacteria.
And here is where it gets interesting, at least to me and I hope to you, too. First the polyphenols feed the good bacteria – and in return, the good bacteria increase the bioavailability and effects of the polyphenols. So without the good bacteria acting upon the polyphenols, the less the polyphenols can provide all the wonderful benefits research shows they may provdie. Talk about a quid pro quo relationship.
May it is just me but this just makes me giddy with fascination. When we think of the conventional perspective of medicine that has existed for years with its focus on fats, carbs, protein, vitamins and minerals, it amazing how much of a game changer this is. To think that these beneficial bacteria play so many roles that ensure our good health and that eating or drinking natural chemicals found in whole foods strengthens the good bacteria and their ability to help us shows just how smart nature is and what was created for us to maintain our health.
So think about this the next times you sip a glass of wine or eat some delicious grapes. You are doing far more benefit for your body than you know. Salute!
- Bioavailability of Dietary Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota Metabolism: Antimicrobial Properties, Laura Marín, Elisa M. Miguélez, Claudio J. Villar, and Felipe Lombó, BioMed Research International Article ID 905215
- Red Wine Polyphenols’ Effects on Gut Microbiota Ecology, Barry W. Ritz, PhD, Natural Medicine Journal, 08-2012
- Updated knowledge about polyphenols: functions, bioavailability, metabolism, and health. Landete JM et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2012;52(10):936-48
- Interactions of gut microbiota with functional food components and nutraceuticals. Laparra JM1, Sanz Y. Pharmacol Res. 2010 Mar;61(3):219-25. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2009.11.001. Epub 2009 Nov 13.