June 25, 2007 Both red and white wine may have previously unknown health benefits at the very start of the journey described in that classic childhood food rhyme, "Through the lips and round the gums, look out stomach here it comes."
Gabriella Gazzani and colleagues in Italy point out that previous studies suggested that moderate wine consumption has health benefits after reaching the stomach and digestion -- in protecting against heart disease and cancer. In addition, wine's antibacterial activity has been recognized since antiquity, when wine was used to treat infected wounds. Until now, however, scientists had not investigated whether wine could combat harmful oral bacteria, the researchers said.
Their study showed that red and white wine were effective in controlling the growth of several strains of streptococci bacteria that are involved in tooth decay, and some cases of sore throat. "Overall, our findings seem to indicate that wine can act as an effective antimicrobial agent against the tested pathogenic oral streptococci and might be active in caries and upper respiratory tract pathologies prevention," the study states, noting that tests now are underway to determine wine's effects on those diseases in humans.
The study, "Antibacterial Activity of Red and White Wine Against Oral Streptococci," is scheduled for the July 11 issue of ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
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