In particularly amazing news: Happy hour may be healthier than you think. Ditto for bread baskets!
Consuming dietary yeast (which is commonly found in beer, bread, and wine) trains the bacteria in your digestive tract to eat a different kind of yeast: the bad kind that naturally occurs in the gut and is associated with intestinal disease, according to recent research conducted by scientists from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom and the University of Michigan Medical School. In theory, this can rid your body of harmful yeast before it has a chance to mess with your health and ~bonus~ help healthy gut bacterial thrive and proliferate.
Because the research was done in a lab, researchers still don't know exactly how this phenomenon could play out in individuals—especially since everyone has a different mix of bacteria in the gut, says study co-author Eric Martens, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Michigan's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. At the very least, consuming more yeast can help your body learn to absorb nutrients that could boost your intestinal health in other ways: Some studies suggest the benefits could include protection against Salmonella, E. coli, colorectal cancer, and inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's, Martens says.
In other words, consuming dietary yeast in the form of beer and wine, plus foods like bread and some kinds of miso, can't hurt. Drink to that, and pass the bread.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.