Los Angeles: Drinking coffee, tea and wine may be associated with a healthier and more diverse community of microbes living in the gut, a new study has claimed.
The opposite is true for drinking sugary beverages and whole milk, as well as for continually eating snacks and a lot of carbohydrates, researchers said. Scientists from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands analysed the microbes inside the guts of more than 1,100 people. They identified 126 factors that were correlated with changes in the makeup of an individual's microbial community -
including 60 associated with diet, 12 related to diseases, 19 linked with drugs and four tied to smoking.
"In total we found 60 dietary factors that influence diversity. But there is good correlation between diversity and health - greater diversity is better," said Alexandra Zhernakova from University of Groningen. Researchers studied stool samples of 1,135 Dutch participants. They collected their own stool samples at home and then immediately put them in the freezer.
After a few days, samples were transported to labs at the university, where they remained frozen until they were processed by researchers, 'Los Angeles Times' reported. This ensured that none of the bacteria had a chance to grow or change from the time the sample was collected and guaranteed that all samples were treated the same way, researchers said.
After analysing the samples and comparing them with other data, researchers found that consuming fruits, vegetables and yogurt positively influenced microbial diversity in the gut. Drinking tea, wine, coffee and buttermilk had the same effect.
Sugary sodas and savoury snacks were associated with lower levels of diversity. Similarly, so was having irritable bowel syndrome and smoking during pregnancy, researchers said. Women and older people tend to have more microbial diversity than men and younger people, they said. The findings were published in the journal Science.