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Researchers at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, recently found that red wine, coffee, and tea can actually increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut, which can help ward off illness.
Turns out your beloved evening glass of Cab and morning cup of joe aren’t just enjoyable beverages: Researchers at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, recently found that red wine, coffee, and tea can actually increase the diversity of bacteria in the gut, which can help ward off illness. All three beverages contain polyphenols, compounds that have been shown to have a positive effect on digestive health. “Our research found that these polyphenols promote different bacteria species in the gut, and in general, a higher diversity of bacteria is considered healthier,” says Ettje F. Tigchelaar, one of the study’s authors. (White wine, beer, and liquor contain lesser amounts of polyphenols, which is why they don’t have the same salutary effect.) Of course, this isn’t a reason to start going overboard on the Malbec or macchiatos, says David Johnson, MD, professor of medicine and chief of gastroenterology at Eastern Virginia Medical School, in Norfolk, Virginia, and past president of the American College of Gastroenterology. “Rather than increase your wine and coffee consumption, make it part of a balanced, diversified diet with other foods shown to promote good gut bacteria,” he says.