Here’s a good reason to make a toast: Researchers have found that a compound in grapes used to make champagne can improve spatial memory.
“The results were dramatic,” says Jeremy Spencer, a professor at the University of Reading in England and one of the investigators on the study’s research team.
“The compounds were found to favorably alter a number of proteins linked to the effective storage of memories in the brain.”
The researchers found that drinking three glasses of champagne weekly can protect the brain from dementia and prevent memory loss by restoring crucial proteins.
Spencer explains that when people age, the concentration of these proteins in the nervous system deteriorates. However, compounds called phenolics, like those in champagne, can replenish these resources.
“The research is exciting,” Spencer says, “because it illustrates for the first time that moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive function such as memory.”
Researchers attribute the brain-boosting benefits of champagne to phenolic compounds found in Pinot Noir and Pino Meunier, the two red grape varietals used to produce the alcohol. Red wine has been shown to have similar brain-boosting benefits but those are thought to come from the flavonoids in the wine.
Spencer says, “champagne, which lacks flavonoids, is also capable of influencing brain function through the actions of smaller phenolic compounds, previously thought to lack biological activity.”
It’s important to note that the research was conducted in rats, not humans, so experts advise proceeding with caution because rats and humans are considerably different when it comes to brain chemistry.
It’s also important to note that researchers used the pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes that come from the Champagne region of France. Champagne may have more health benefits than other sparkling wines like prosecco or domestic bubbly, according to Healthy Eating.
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