If, like most of us, you like the odd glass of wine in the evening and the odd cup of coffee during the day, there’s good news courtesy of a new Dutch study.
As humans, we all have trillions of bacteria in our guts which help us to digest our food, and to be healthy it’s vital to maintain a balance between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria. Good bacteria have anti-inflammatory effects and help to support a healthy immune system, while bad bacteria can cause inflammation and exacerbate conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. That’s why probiotics and health drinks claiming to boost levels of healthy bacteria have become so popular.
The new study suggests that a glass of wine in the evening and a cup of coffee during the day can help to keep a healthy balance of good bacteria. The research was carried out as part of the LifeLines programme, which follows the health of 165,000 inhabitants of the Northern Netherlands. The study collated information about diet, prescription medicine and general health as well as analysing gut DNA.
Dr Cisca Wijmenga, Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Groningen said: “We have mapped all the bacterial DNA to gain much more detailed information about bacteria types and see, for example, the effect of diet in the gut.”
In total, the research team found 60 dietary factors that had an effect on the diversity of gut bacteria with coffee and wine having a positive effect. Other factors, such as antibiotics and the diabetes drug metformin had a negative impact.
Increasing the diversity of digestive bacteria can help keep you healthy for longer, and eating a more varied diet helps to maintain a balance.
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