Break out the ice bucket, polish the flutes and chill of a bottle of Moët & Chandon’s Grand Vintage, because new research shows that drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week may counteract the memory loss associated with ageing, and could help delay the onset of degenerative brain disorders.
These are the findings in a paper published in Antioxidants and Redox Signalling by scientists at the University of Reading, who have shown that the phenolic compounds found in champagne can improve spatial memory responsible for recording information about one’s environment, and storing the information for future navigation.
Champagne has high levels of phenolics which are derived from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, two red grapes which are used in champagne production along with the white grape Chardonnay. According to researchers, it is these phenolic compounds which are believed to be responsible for the beneficial effects of champagne on the brain.
With age, memory storage becomes less efficient causing a degraded memory. Drinking champagne inhibits these losses and helps to prevent the cognitive decline that occurs during brain ageing.
Professor Jeremy Spencer, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, said:
“These exciting results illustrate for the first time that the moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory. Such observations have previously been reported with red wine, through the actions of flavonoids contained within it.
“However, our research shows that champagne, which lacks flavonoids, is also capable of influencing brain function through the actions of smaller phenolic compounds, previously thought to lack biological activity. We encourage a responsible approach to alcohol consumption, and our results suggest that a very low intake of one to two glasses a week can be effective.”
Dr. David Vauzour, the researcher on the study, added: “In the near future we will be looking to translate these findings into humans. This has been achieved successfully with other polyphenol-rich foods, such as blueberry and cocoa, and we predict similar outcomes for moderate Champagne intake on cognition in humans.”
Previous research from the University of Reading revealed that two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation and could reduce the risks of suffering from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Champagne increases the availability of nitric oxide, a vascular active molecule which controls blood pressure. When you drink Champagne, your body absorbs polyphenols which slow down the natural removal of nitric oxide from our blood.
High nitric oxide levels in the blood not only increases blood flow, it may help to decrease both blood pressure and blood clots, reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
According to Dr Jeremy Spencer, from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences:
“Our research has shown that drinking around two glasses of Champagne can have beneficial effects on the way blood vessels function, in a similar way to that observed with red wine. We always encourage a responsible approach to alcohol consumption, but the fact that drinking Champagne has the potential to reduce the risks of suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and stroke, is very exciting news.”