Ever pass by a coffee shop and feel you really have to have your caffeine fix? Or ever feel like getting yourself a glass of wine to cap off your day? Well, maybe it’s your gut instinct, or more specifically, just your gut urging you to drink up. Studies have shown that wine and coffee are, in fact, good for your tummy. So have no qualms when it comes to chugging that 5th latte for the day or indulging in a glass of wine. This time, you really have to follow what your gut says—and it says go for it.
According to a new study published in Science, coffee and wine are actually good for your gut. In this study, conducted by a group of researchers led by Alexandra Zhernakova of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, a cup of coffee or a glass of wine helps maintain “good bacteria” in the intestinal tract. Having good bacteria in your tummy is hugely beneficial to your body in many ways. Like quarterbacks of your intestinal tract, it calls all the shots to ensure that your intestines are in tip-top shape. These good bacteria control the tempo of how your body digests and absorbs nutrients, as well as better regulate your metabolism and boost your immune system.
Conducting large-scale DNA analysis of 1,135 Dutch people who participated in the study, the researchers were able to examine the factors that affect the diversity of the microbiome, which is the intestinal bacterial community unique in each individual. Coffee and wine, the study finds, help increase the diversity of such bacteria. Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief about milk being good for your body, whole milk, sugary drinks, and a high-calorie diet can actually decrease the diversity of the microbiome in your gut, thereby increasing your risk for obesity, heart disease, autoimmune problems, and certain types of cancer.
Zhernakova shares that this is the first large-scale study that systematically evaluates such a broad range of host and environmental factors. This is because in the past, studies were made only on people with specific illnesses. This time, Zhernakova’s research was conducted on normal people. In the end, the researchers were able to successfully and definitively map out as many as 126 factors that affect an individual’s intestinal microbiome. 60 of these are dietary factors, and this has shown how, together with yogurt, fruits, and vegetables, coffee and wine can help increase the diversity of your gut flora. The study has also identified 12 factors associated with disease, 19 with drugs, and four with smoking. The study, as a whole, has helped scientists pain a good picture of what exactly a healthy microbiome looks like.
Furthermore, this study helps support many other studies that prove the health benefits of drinking coffee and wine on a regular basis.