Red wine may improve gut health and decrease 'bad' cholesterol

A study out of King's College London has found that red wine may offer health benefits associated with body fat levels, cholesterol, and gut bacteria. The research involves more than 900 female twins located in the United Kingdom, where scientists looked into the potential effects of different types of alcohol on the gut microbiome and other aspects of one's health.

Unlike individuals who consumed beer, white wine, and other alcoholic beverages, the study found that people who drank red wine had more diverse gut bacteria, which is a sign of health. The bacteria located in one's gut has been implicated in various potential health effects, possibly playing a role in everything from mental health to obesity and some autoimmune conditions.

The link between red wine consumption and diverse, healthy gut bacteria persisted despite age, weight, diet, and other potentially influential factors. Though the exact mechanism between the two remains unknown, the study indicates that polyphenols — the beneficial chemicals found in a variety of plants — may play a role.

In addition to healthier gut microbiomes, the study also found that individuals who drank red wine had lower rates of obesity compared to individuals who didn't drink red wine, and they also had lower levels of the 'bad' LDL cholesterol. These changes were partially the result of having a healthier gut bacteria profile, the study found.

Of course, alcohol consumption comes with potential health consequences, including increased risk of stroke. Fortunately, resveratrol and a wide array of other polyphenols can be found in products that don't include alcohol, including many herbal teas, berries, fruit and vegetables, and more.