Tim Spector, a professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London, in his recent study which involved participants in the UK, US and Belgium. He suggests that wine drinkers look at drinking a wider range of red grape varieties, including unpopular varieties. In doing this, he states will boost our immune system, fight diseases, healthier gut and improve mental health.
He told Wine Blast podcast: “My advice for wine-lovers is keep loving wine and still drink wine, primarily for the pleasure, but at the back of your mind think, could I be trying different bottles or varieties that might actually be healthier for me and that I might enjoy?”
Professor Spector also states: “diversity is also important – if you take the analogy from foods, having a range of different grape varieties in your diet means that you are going to be helping different gut microbes inside you and you will increase your gut health and diversity. So, don’t just stick with the same wine. Get out there. try the hundreds or thousands of different grape varieties that we generally don’t enjoy.”
“Let’s get those rare ones back on the map again, because each of those could be helping you nourish really healthy gut microbes inside you and improve your health.’ A study led by Professor Spector’s team in 2019 found those who drank red wine had a wider range of gut bacteria. this was not seen for white wine, which may be because red wine has the grape skins left in for most of the fermentation process, so has high levels of polyphenols – plant compounds which are good for the gut.
Professor Spector is not suggesting people have full power to over-indulge in red and states: “The trick is to get the dose right, as always. That’s something that we all struggle with and it’s very individual. That’s why this government approach, [where] most countries say there are a certain amount of units that most men and women should have, is problematic.”
“Your response to alcohol is highly personalised and of course some people can’t drink it at all. So, we think that alcohol on one hand in large amounts is harmful but in small amounts, if might be okay.”