Raise a glass to health: How Champagne could ward off dementia and heart disease

A few glasses of fizz can help guard against dementia, boost your circulation and even make you feel happier – just don’t over do it.

An amazing 29 million bottles of Champagne are imported into the UK every year, showing just how much us Brit love a glass of fizz.

While the bubbly beverage is no doubt associated with fun and celebrations, there are some health benefits to Champagne. In fact, even in the early 20th century, hospitals prescribed it for a number of ailments, including vomiting cases.

Sadly champagne is no longer available on prescription, but research has shown that champagne can help protect against memory loss, boost your circulation and even lift your libido. We’ve got the scientific facts on the health benefits of champagne which are worth raising a glass to this Christmas.

Champagne toast showing the health benefits of ChampagneCredit: Shutterstock/PeopleImages.com

As with gaining benefits from any alcoholic drink, the key here is moderation says Nichola Ludlam-Raine, a specialist registered dietitian.

“For most adults, moderate drinking means up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men,” she says.

“Excessive consumption can negate any potential benefits and lead to health issues. The NHS advises not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread over three or more days with at least two alcohol free days a week.”

1. Champagne can help protect against dementia

Drink a toast to better memory

Researchers from the University of Reading found that a celebratory glass of bubbly could be good for the brain.

The findings from their study suggest that indulging in one to three glasses of Champagne per week might hold the key to combating age-related memory decline and potentially delaying the onset of degenerative brain disorders like dementia.

Champagne’s unique phenolic compounds enhance memory by modulating signals in the brain’s memory centres and preserving proteins, which diminish with age, crucial for memory storage.

Champagne influences our brain function

Previous studies had shown red wine to do a similar thing, thanks to the flavonoids in it.

“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,” said Dr Spencer.

Don’t neglect healthy eating habits

Of course, there are other non-alcoholic ways to get the same polyphenol boost for your brain.

“It’s important to note champagne isn’t a health drink due to its alcohol content and there are more antioxidants in fruits and vegetables!” says Ludlam-Raine.

Foods rich in polyphenol include spinach, blueberries, blackberries, olives, flaxseeds, nuts and even a cup of tea.

2. Champagne is good for your heart

Polyphenols benefit our circulation

Research undertaken by Reading University (yes them again) has also shown that just two glasses of the bubbly stuff can help with circulation and benefit the heart.

“Like red and white wine, Champagne contains polyphenols, which are antioxidants that can potentially benefit heart health by reducing blood vessel damage and lowering blood pressure,” explains Ludlam-Raine.

Champagne has the potential to reduce the risks of heart disease and stroke

While Champagne may offer cardiovascular benefits, more research is required to fully understand its long-term implications.

Dr Jeremy Spencer, from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, which carried out the research at the university, said: “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.”

3. It’s a mood booster

Happiness in a glass

Who doesn’t feel a surge of excitement when they hear the pop of a Champagne bottle? And it seems drinking a couple of glasses of fizz can actually improve your mood.

This might be because we associate Champagne, and generally consume it, at celebrations where most of us are usually feeling happy – Christmas, weddings, birthdays and so on.

However, it also contains natural mood boosters such as magnesium, potassium and zinc. Potassium relieves the symptoms of depression and anxiety, while magnesium and zinc are known for their calming effects.

Dealing with a hangover

Overindulged on the Champagne? Ludlam-Raine says it’s important to prep to help reduce a hangover.

“To mitigate a Champagne hangover, stay hydrated by drinking water alongside your bubbles,” she suggests.

“Eating a good meal before drinking can also help (one that includes carbs). Afterwards, rest, more water, a balanced meal, and perhaps some electrolyte-rich drinks to help aid recovery. A walk in the fresh air can also help.”

3. Champagne can improve your libido

Pop that cork for a boost in bed

While heavy drinking can depress your central nervous system, which helps with reaching orgasm, and reduce your libido, sipping on the odd glass of Champagne can work wonders for your sex life.

Some studies have shown red wine can increase testosterone – the hormone associated with sex drive – and while there’s no evidence that this is the case with Champagne, thanks to its mood booster properties it can certainly have an effect on perking up your sex life.

“While Champagne itself isn’t a direct libido booster, its association with celebration and its bubbly nature can create a psychological mood enhancement,” says Ludlam-Raine.

“To pep up your sex life, consider pairing Champagne with foods rich in zinc like oysters (traditionally known as aphrodisiacs), or foods high in antioxidants like dark chocolate and strawberries.”

It can also save you consuming additional calories

If you’re looking at monitoring your waistline, Champagne is a better choice than other alcoholic drinks.

“Champagne typically has a lower alcohol content compared to some wines and spirits, which might make it a slightly ‘healthier’ choice in terms of alcohol content,” says Ludlam-Raine.

“However, the calorie content can be similar to that of white wine, and it’s usually higher than light beers.”

What can save you calories is the type of glass you drink champers out of. A Champagne flute contains fewer ounces than a standard wine glass, so you are effectively consuming less. A Champagne flute therefore is around 65-80 calories a glass, whereas a standard wine glass is around 120-140 calories.

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Published:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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