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Wine and Probiotics

By Linda Tarr Kent

If you enjoy wine in moderation, there’s more good news. Red wine is usually noted as a potential health booster because of its antioxidant content, but it may also promote a healthy digestive system, according to “The Probiotics Revolution,” by Gary B. Huffnagle and Sarah Wernick. Always consult your doctor if you drink wine as part of your diet.

Prebiotics

Red wine encourages probiotic growth in your gut, as do apples, beans, tea, berries and spices, according to the University of Michigan Health System. By eating these foods, you promote the growth of probiotics, such as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, that are found in cultured dairy products like yogurt and cheese. Foods that nourish probiotics are commonly called prebiotics.

Significance

Probiotics are bacteria that you consume that have health benefits. They work along with your body’s immune system to keep bad microbes from taking hold, basically by crowding them out. Probiotics also improve your digestive function.

Probiotics

In addition to prebiotics, wine contains its own probiotics, such as Oenococcus oeni. This less-common probiotic bacteria has benefits, such as alleviating colitis symptoms and significantly lowering colonic injury. Its anti-inflammatory properties are not as great as those of dairy product probiotics like lactobacillus and bifidobacterium, according to a 2010 study published in the “International Journal of Food Microbiology.” The study was conducted on mice in which colitis was induced. Results of this study make investigating the use live probiotics isolated from wine worthwhile, notes the lead author of the study.

Expert Insight

While wine may encourage probiotic growth and have heart-healthy benefits due to its antioxidant content, consuming it in moderation is best, note the authors of “The Probiotics Revolution.” That’s because drinking too much alcohol can be detrimental to your health. According to the University of Michigan Health System, you should limit yourself to one 5 oz. glass of wine daily if you are a woman, and two 5 oz. glasses daily if you are a man.

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