Libations & Wellness: Drinking Champagne Is Good for Your Brain

IMG_2073 New Year’s might be long over, but Valentine’s Day is a champagne-worthy holiday. Last year, scientists at the University of Reading in Great Britain published a study that one to two glasses of champagne a week can help ward off age-related memory loss.

The study found that champagne’s phenolic compounds help improve spatial memory, which plays a role in navigation, performance of complex tasks and math. The acid compounds send a signal to the brain’s hippocampus and cortex and help prevent the loss of proteins involved in memory storage.

Researchers in Reading conducted a study on lab rats. These rats were given a moderate dose of champagne each day for six weeks, about the equivalent of a glass and a half a week. When put in a maze, the rats who had indulged in a little bubbly had improved spatial working memory.

Dr. Giulia Corona, lead researcher, told Wine Spectator that “daily supplementation with a low-to-moderate dose of champagne for six weeks led to an improvement in memory, indicating phenolic compounds in champagne may interact directly with nerve cells, improve the communication between cells and encourage nerves that carry electrical signals in the brain to regenerate.”

Corona and her co-author Dr. David Vauzour believe that after a year or two, us humans would start to see similar results of this study. This study is just one of the latest to highlight the potential health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption.

According to the National Institutes of Health, adults who drink light-to-moderate amounts of red and white wine, beer and distilled spirits are less likely to develop heart disease than those that drink heavily or not at all.

Moderate drinking has shown to increase HDL, otherwise known as good cholesterol, decrease blood clots from forming, reduce inflammation and help deliver antioxidants. For years, there has been lots of discussion on the cognitive and health benefits of antioxidants known as flavonoids in red wine and foods such as blueberries and cherries. Champagne does not have any flavonoids, however, according to this study’s results, these smaller phenolic compounds can be very effective.

To make sure you get your weekly dose of champagne, give one of these a try:

Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Champagne, Champagne, France
The vines for this champagne have an average age of 49 and fermented with indigenous yeasts from the same area. Flavors of light toast, citrus, delicate mousse texture, firm yet integrated, lingering finish and a chalky mouthfeel.
Available at Marczyk Fine Wines $64.99

GOSSET, Champagne, France
This Champagne is refined and creamy with delicate acidity and flavors of pear and almond cream. Gosset is also the oldest wine house in Champagne.
Available at Argonaut Wine & Liquor $45.99

Didier Girault Brut, Champagne, France
This is a great champagne to celebrate and drink with your Valentine. It has flavors of creamy cherry with rich berry and yeasty nuances.
Available at Marczyk Fine Wines $36.99

G.H. Mumm, Champagne, France
Mumm has dried fruit notes with hints of vanilla, roasted nuts and toast. Yes, toast.
Available at Argonaut Wine & Liquor $27.99

About Alexandra Weissner

Alex loves craft beer, whiskey and brunch. She has a weakness for Champagne and Prosecco. She also likes to run a lot.