That’s right: The bubbly is better for the brain. Studies have revealed that three glasses of Champagne a day could help protect your brain from dementia and Alzheimer’s.
We’re not really sure why this study hasn’t gotten more traction — the implications are pretty exciting for our weekend plans. Released in 2013, the results indicated that a compound found in pinot noir and pinot meunier — two of the three grapes that may be used to make Champagne — can improve spatial memory. According to Jeremy Spencer, a professor at the University of Reading and one of the investigators on the study’s research team, “The results were dramatic.”
Champagne, along with certain types of red wine, contains phenolics from the grapes used during fermentation. These phenolics effectively regulate signals in the hippocampus and cortex — two areas of the brain involved in memory and learning. “The compounds were found to favorably alter a number of proteins linked to the effective storage of memories in the brain,” the University of Reading explained in a press release highlighting the study. When people age, the concentration of these proteins in the nervous system deteriorates. However, phenolics like those in Champagne can replenish these resources.[related]
“This research is exciting,” Spencer explained, “because it illustrates for the first time that moderate consumption of Champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning such as memory.” While we’re not so sure how “moderate” three glasses every single day really is, it sounds like a promising concept.
However, two things are important to note: First, the study was only done on a test population of rats, and no further research was released to follow up regarding humans. Rats and humans are considerably different when it comes to brain chemistry, so heed these results with caution.
Second, if you do decide to experiment with the effects of Champagne on your brain health, the particulars of your bubbly may make a difference. Because the study found beneficial results specifically from the pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes, capital-C Champagne — which by EU law must come from the Champagne region of France and must be made from these two grapes and/or chardonnay — may convey more benefits than other sparkling wines (like cava, prosecco, or domestic bubblies). These popular partying variations may be made from different grapes.
Some Champagne, in fact, is made entirely from chardonnay, with neither pinot meunier nor pinot noir included. So you’ll need to check your label carefully — and if you managed to remember all of this, you may not need to worry much about your brain’s memory capacity.