If you're like us, you love your daily coffee, and you love a glass of wine or three with dinner. And you've been paying close attention to studies that link coffee and wine with good health, whether it's because they're antioxidant-rich, contribute to brain health, or help prevent diseases like cancer or diabetes. The latest study brings even more excellent news: Wine and coffee can promote a healthy gut.
According to a new study at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, published in the journal Science, those beverages, along with yogurt, buttermilk and tea, help make up a diverse microbiome, the collection of gut bacteria consisting of trillions of microorganisms.
As one of the researchers involved in the study, Dr. Alexandra Zhernakova, told the L.A. Times, “there is good correlation between diversity and health: greater diversity is better.”
The scientists studied 1100 people, analyzing 126 different factors that impact the composition of their gut bacteria, including diet, disease, smoking and drug use. Diets that include fruits and vegetables—along with buttermilk, yogurt, coffee, tea and wine—were linked to a healthier and more diverse microbiome, while those that involve sweetened sodas, whole milk, salty snacks and simple carbs had the opposite effect. Other factors contribute to a less-balanced microbiome too, including a history of diabetes and heart disease, insufficient sleep, smoking, and the consumption of certain antiobiotics and antacids.
Much more remains to be learned about the microbiome, and specific research on it is fairly recent. But for now: Wine and coffee drinkers, carry on. (Of course we'll want to remember the M word, moderation.)
We had a gut feeling our favorite liquid vices were a force for good.
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