CANADA: Red wine beats food borne bacteria, say scientists

Adding to the list of health benefits ascribed to red wine, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the United States have found that this alcoholic drink also protects humans from common food-borne diseases.

A study found that Cabernet, Zinfandel and Merlot in particular have anti-microbial properties that defend against food-borne pathogens while protecting naturally useful bacteria such as probiotic bacteria. Among the pathogens examined were E coli, Salmonella Typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes and H pylori.

Of this list, researcher Azlin Mustapha, associate professor of food science at the university’s College of Agriculture, said the most promising results involved Helicobacter pylori, which can be transmitted via food and water and is the leading cause of stomach ulcers.

Numerous white wines also were tested, but yielded no positive results.

Mustapha said: “Phytochemicals [plant-derived chemicals that can have protective or disease preventive properties] also play a role not just as antioxidants but also may have some inhibitions against food-borne pathogens.”