If you are fond of indulging in a glass of wine on an evening, enjoying your favourite tipple could actually be beneficial to your health.
Drinking wine can help to fend off the germs that cause sore throats and dental plaque as it serves as a disinfectant, according to findings from a new study.
Previous scientific studies of wine dating back to the 1980s found that the drink had antibacterial properties.
However, the latest research has concluded that the acidity and alcohol concentration is actually not what is responsible for this, as was previously thought.
The antibacterial properties are instead thought to be the result of a number of organic compounds which are found in both red and white wines.
Fighting bacteria and germs
The new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, concluded that the organic compounds found in wine kill 99.9 per cent of dental bacteria and germs which cause sore throats.
The authors wrote, "Several studies suggest that moderate wine consumption has beneficial effects on human health.
"The antioxidant and antiradical properties, particularly of red wine, attributed mainly to high polyphenol content, appear to protect against the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.
"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.
"In conclusion, both red and white wines were proved to exert in vitro antibacterial activity against several oral streptococci."
What are streptococcal infections?
Streptococcal infections are any type of infection which are caused by the streptococcus ('strep') group of bacteria, says the NHS.
There are a number of different types of Streptococci bacteria and infections vary in severity, from mild throat infections, to more serious, life-threatening infections of the blood or organs.
Streptococci are divided into are divided into two key groups:
- Alpha-haemolytic - made up of two groups, including streptococcus pneumoniae
- Beta-haemolytic - made up of several groups, including Group A and Group B streptococci
Group A infections are typically found on the surface of the skin and inside the throat, and are a common cause of infections in adults and children.
Most streptococcal infections can be treated with antibiotics, but the antioxidant properties of wine could help to ward off such illnesses before a trip to the doctor is needed.