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Health Q&A: Wine and H. pylori

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: January 21, 2009

Q. My wife and I have enjoyed red wine for many years. We are sixty years old. About two years ago my wife had a stomach problem related to an H. pylori infection. Since then red wine, especially Cabernets bother her. The Chiantis are not as bad. Can you recommend some reds for people with sensitive stomachs?

A: H. Pylori bacteria usually infects people when they are children, though many people with the bacteria don't develop symptoms, which can range from inflammation of the stomach and duodenum to gastric ulcers and stomach cancers. While you might think that alcohol would aggravate H. pylori, studies actually show that alcohol—particularly wine—consumption may actually reduce the odds of active H. pylori infection.

Dr. Walter Peterson of the American Gastroenterological Association adds that while there are no wines specifically suited to those with H. pylori, he suggests that anyone with a tender stomach might do well with lighter bodied reds low in acidity and tannins, such as Pinot Noir-based wines.

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