Lifestyle plays a major role in the health of your intestinal bacteria, known as your microbiome. Now, though, researchers have found that drinking coffee and wine may actually help your gut perform better.
In this latest study, the researchers collected stool samples from more than 1,100 people participating in the LifeLines program, which monitors the health of 165,000 residents of the Northern Netherlands. The research team then analyzed the DNA of the bacteria and other organisms in the stool samples that also live in the gut.
They used the DNA analysis to examine which factors impact the diversity of the microbiome. In this case, it looks as if many things influence the microbiome.
"In total we found 60 dietary factors that influence the diversity," said Alexandra Zhernakova, UMCG researcher first author of the new study. "But there is a good correlation between diversity and health: greater diversity is better."
So, what did they find? It turns out that people who regularly consume yogurt or buttermilk have a greater diversity of gut bacteria. In addition, coffee and wine can also increase the diversity of gut bacteria. In other words, people who eat these things on a regular basis have healthier gut bacteria.
"Disease often occurs as the result of many factors," Zhernakova said. "Most of these factors, like your genes or your age, are not things you can change. But you can change the diversity of your microbiome through adapting your diet or medication. When we understand how this works, it will open up new possibilities."
Having a healthy microbiome is an important part of health, in general. In fact, recent research has shown that it's possible to combat obesity through a fecal transplantation by transplanting healthy gut bacteria into an obese patient.
The results show that when it comes to gut bacteria, diet is extremely important. More specifically, it shows that eating certain things can increase the diversity and health of the bacteria within your gut.
The researchers currently plan on looking more closely at the microbiome in order to better understand it.
The findings were published in the April 29 issue of the journal Science.