Red wine has some very important nutrients called polyphenols. Polyphenols are a chemical found in plant-based foods and are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are good for decreasing inflammation caused by oxidative stress. Oxidative stress can be caused by numerous things like (but not limited to) injury, poor diet, various medications and lack of exercise.
Red wine polyphenols include flavonoids, nonflavonoids, gallic acid, oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanins, catechins, and phenolic acid. There is a lot of research out there on polyphenols in red wine and their proposed health benefits.
But do they benefit your gut health?
When you drink red wine, small amounts (~5-10%) of the polyphenols are absorbed in your small intestine. The rest of the polyphenols make it down to your colon where, as you know, you gut microbiota live and do all the work to look after us.
If you have a high diversity in your gut it will use these polyphenols to form products that will benefit your health such as reducing the growth of pathogenic bacteria, improving cholesterol metabolism, helping with chronic disease parameters and successful ageing! If you don’t have a high diversity in your gut then it may not be able to do the jobs that you need it to. You can change this through diet and getting the right sort of fibres into your gut bugs which involves small sustainable changes to your diet.
I’m not saying drink heaps of red wine but we’ve known for some time that moderate drinking of red wine can be beneficial and now we know why. Those little guys in your gut need to be nurtured and loved. Feed and water them right and they’ll look after you. Unfortunately, if you are like me and don’t like red wine you’ll have to eat more dark chocolate and berries to get some antioxidants.
Naumovski, N., Panagiotakos, D. B., & D’Cunha, N. M. (2020). Untangling the 2-Way Relationship Between Red Wine Polyphenols and Gut Microbiota. Gastroenterology, 158(1), 48-51. doi:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.10.015