What if I told you that drinking red wine responsibly and in moderate amounts may be among the healthiest things you can do?
It may sound silly, but it turns out that red wine, especially natural red wine, is a lot healthier for you than you originally thought.
For most of us, red wine is something we enjoy over a nice meal, at a fancy restaurant, or at the end of a long day. It’s a glass of something delicious to unwind and enjoy the finer things in life.
But red wine is surprisingly rich in antioxidants—specifically, polyphenols and flavonoids that give it its rich color and complex flavors.
Those antioxidants can do wonders for your heart, decrease cardiovascular disease risk, protect your brain, lower your blood pressure, and even potentially extend your lifespan.
And, as one study found, it may be just what your body needs to be healthier overall!
Two studies looked into the effects of red wine on your gut health. Specifically, how the polyphenols (antioxidants) in red wine interact with the bacteria living in your gut.
The first study  was a systematic review that looked at the bioactive compounds in red wine, examining how they not only improved gut bacteria, but helped to combat the pathogenic bacteria responsible for disease and infection.
Seven individual studies met the criteria to be included in the systematic review. All of the studies examined the phenolic metabolites derived from red wine and detailed how they interacted with gut microbiota. It turned out that the polyphenols derived from grapes helped to modulate gut bacteria and contributed to “beneficial microbial ecology that can enhance human health benefits”. The gut bacteria turned the polyphenols into phenolic metabolites, which in turn led to an improvement in gut bacteria function. It was described as “a two-way relationship between the gut microbiota and polyphenolic compounds”.
The second study  detailed how red wine polyphenols help to improve gut health. The wine polyphenols have beneficial effects on the gut microbiota as they are being metabolized, and the intestinal bacteria actually turn those polyphenols into specific bioavailable metabolites. These metabolites can have a positive effect on the digestive tract, as well as in system-wide organs and tissues after they are absorbed into the body.
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Not only do the polyphenols have an immediate local effect on your digestive system and the gut bacteria living there, but thanks to the fact that they are more easily utilized by your body, they can be disseminated and enhance your health in many places.
While a great deal more research is needed to determine just how these red wine polyphenols interact with the body, it’s clear that there is a link between the antioxidants in red wine and healthier gut bacteria. By drinking red wine, you can give the beneficial bacteria in your intestines the antioxidants they need to combat harmful bacteria, which in turn makes your body—and your immune system—a whole lot stronger and more resistant!
While there are many red wines available on the market, the truth is that only the high-quality red wines (natural wines) contain high enough levels of polyphenols to be beneficial. Most of the low-end red wines don’t contain enough natural ingredients to have high levels of these antioxidants.
It’s for this reason that resveratrol and polyphenol supplements exist in the first place. They provide you with a concentrated dose of the beneficial antioxidants your body needs, in an easy-to-take form that will guarantee you get enough of the polyphenols that will benefit your gut microbiota.
If, however, you have high-quality, all-natural red wine available, it’s a good idea to add it in small quantities to your daily diet. You’ll find that the antioxidant and polyphenol content of deep, rich red wine can help make you healthier than ever, thanks to the way the wine interacts with and stimulates your gut bacteria.
But fair warning: too much wine can be bad for you!
Beyond the effects of the alcohol on your liver and your sobriety, you’ll find that excessive amounts of red wine can negatively impact your cardiovascular health as well as your gut health. Your sweet spot is one to two glasses of wine a day, and no more than three or four times a week.
Keeping your wine intake to a healthy, moderate amount will ensure that your body has all the nutrients required to improve your overall wellbeing, but without the nasty side effects of over-drinking. It’s important that you strike that balance, even when drinking something as potentially healthy as natura red wine!
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