Bring out the bubbly. It's an occasion for celebration.
And this time, we're toasting to what's actually in our glasses — the Champagne itself.
According to a 2013 study from Reading University that has resurfaced to great pomp and circumstance on social media, drinking three glasses of Champagne a week could help prevent memory loss and protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia.
The study authors observed that the grapes used in Champagne — Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier — have relatively high levels of phenolics, which help modulate signals in the hippocampus and cortex, parts of the brain associated with memory and learning.
“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,” study author Jeremy Spencer, a food and nutritional sciences professor at the University of Reading, said in a press release when the study was originally published. “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."
With age, many proteins in these parts of the brain waste away — especially if you have Alzheimer's or dementia — but the compounds in Champagne appeared to help restore those protein counts to normal levels.
However, it's important to note that this study was conducted on animals — not people — so the results may not apply to a human model. And the study doesn't mention how the other ingredients in the sparkling wine — sugar, for example — could affect our health.
So, until the researchers can translate these findings into humans, maybe don't go overboard with the bubbly. Pop a bottle for a really special occasion rather than, say, the sun setting. You can get your polyphenols from other foods, like blueberries and cocoa.
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