Gut check: This new study provides yet another healthy reason to enjoy red wine

The reasons that red wine is good for you are manifold, in addition to its taste and the way it lends you an air of sophistication: in moderation, red wine is thought to boost omega-3 fatty acids, which protects against heart disease. It contains antioxidants, boosts the immune system, improves circulation, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

And now there’s one more benefit, according to a new study from King’s College London that links red wine to better gut health.

Drink up

Gut health is important and plays an important overall role in your health, controlling everything from weight to mood to inflammation and immune function. It even influences your brain – the vast majority of serotonin, which influences your mood — is produced in the gut.

To be specific, the study found that red wine drinkers had more diverse gut microbiota (a sign of good gut health) in comparison to those that didn’t drink.

Another benefit was that red wine drinkers were linked to lower levels of “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and obesity.

Researchers from KCL’s Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology investigated the effect of red wine by testing it, plus white wine, cider, beer, and liquor on 916 U.K.-born female twins. They found that red wine drinkers’ gut microbiomes were more diverse than participants who drank other forms of alcohol.

“Although we observed an association between red wine consumption and the gut microbiota diversity, drinking red wine rarely, such as once every two weeks, seems to be enough to observe an effect, said Dr. Caroline Le Roy, the study’s lead author, in a release. “If you must choose one alcoholic drink today, red wine is the one to pick as it seems to potentially exert a beneficial effect on you and your gut microbes, which in turn may also help weight and risk of heart disease.”

However, Le Roy still advises consuming wine in moderation. The recommended amount is one glass a day for women and two glasses a day for men. (You don’t get extra benefits for drinking more).

The findings were published in the journal Gastroenterology.