Just in case you need a legit excuse to pop open a bottle of bubbly, this is the news you’ve been waiting for.
Champagne is actually good for your health.
But, don’t get too carried away… these health benefits all come with the catch line “within reason”.
Don’t go downing a bottle of bubbly a night – in excessive quantities you’ll undo all the champer’s good work.
When sipping on the tipple responsibly though, the benefits are seemingly endless, a top nutritionist has told The Sun Online.
Throughout history the drink has been used to treat a range of illnesses.
According to The Healing Power of Champagne, it was once used to treat gout, morning sickness and was even a medicine to defy the aging process.
Carolina Brooks, a Nutritionist Resource expert, explained how several more recent studies have also linked champagne to hidden health benefits if it is drunk responsibly.
And if helping your brain or your heart isn’t enough on its own, champagne also has a good amount of antioxidants which can boost your immune system.
Carolina told The Sun Online: “Everything should be drunk in moderation, all of the studies into the benefits say two to three glasses of champagne a week, max.”
So instead of cracking out the champers on special occasions, here are some reasons to sip on a glass a little more frequently.
- It’s good for your memory. While your memory may seem a bit fuzzy after one or two glasses, it may actually be improved in the long run, explained Carolina.
That’s because champagne contains a certain chemical that can stop the part of the brain responsible for memory from shrinking.
Phenolic acid has been linked to increased memory functions, studies have shown.
Carolina said: “There has been a couple of studies that say it can reduce the shrinking of the hippocampus.
“[Phenolic acid] helps with spatial awareness, memory, smells, sound.
“The mechanism behind that is that it regulates the signals between nerve cells.
“Like making new nerve cells by playing Sudoku to protect from Alzheimer’s, champagne could also provide a potential benefits.”
A team of scientists at Reading University tested the brain boosting benefits of champagne in 2013.
They gave rats the bubbly beverage everyday for six weeks and then challenged them to complete a maze.
The rats that consumed no champagne had a success rate of 50 percent when put in the maze, but those who had enjoyed a little drink had a success rate of 70 percent.
- It’s good for your heart. Much like the warm and relaxed feeling a glass of bubbles can give you, champagne also relaxes your blood vessels.
Carolina explained: “It increases nitric oxide production in the blood that has an impact on artery walls and that helps lower blood pressure.
“It relaxes the blood vessels to allow better blood flow, so that will reduce high blood pressure, and reduce pressure on the arteries.
“And, as another effect from that, it could reduce the risk of clots.”
Blood clots are one of the key causes of deadly heart attacks, blocking the arteries carrying oxygenated blood to the heart.
This is a benefit usually associated with red wine, but a 1999 study found sparkling wine contains high levels of polyphenols which can lower blood pressure.
- It’s good for your sex life. As part of its ability to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow, champagne can also help a man get an erection.
An erection can only occur when the tubes in the penis fill with blood, so a good circulation is essential.
It also puts people in the mood because they are more relaxed and therefore they let go of their inhibitions.
Carolina said: “Anything that acts as a stimulant might do [increase your sex drive].
“Alcohol basically does that, it reduces your inhibitions and boosts your sex drive.”
- It’s lower in calories than other alcohol. Excellent news for those who enjoy a drink but don’t want to guzzle too many calories.
Champagne contains fewer calories than your average glass of wine, but it’s still important to remember to burn off the calories you consume, warned Carolina.
She said: “It has slightly lower calories than some of the other alcoholic beverages out there, somewhere in the range of 90 to 100 calories [per glass].
“The general advice is that the number of calories you take in needs to match what you take out.
“But people also need to remember that any excess sugar you eat gets stored as fat.”
Excess calories can lead to excess weight, so it is not license to drink as much as you like.
- It’s bursting with antioxidants. Antioxidants help our bodies remove waste and keep our immune system healthy.
There are high levels of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables – and that includes the grapes that make your champagne.
Carolina explained: “Every bodily process creates waste products called free radicals and what you need is lots of different nutrients and compounds to knock out these free radicals and help to eliminate them safely from the body.
“We live in a city where there is a lot of pollution and a lot of stress so the number of free radicals we produce outnumber what we naturally make so it is a good idea to get a better intake of antioxidants from our food.
“We tell people to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables because they all have different effects on the body.
“Flavanoids that are found in grapes are protective for your heart and can help with blood pressure.
“[Antioxidants] are generally protective for your immune system and your health, so the more you consume the better chance you have of not getting a nasty illness.”
And if you want the most benefit from the antioxidants in your bubbles, be sure to check how it was produced.
Carolina said: “Try and drink organic because if you have pesticides in the champagne then you are negating the effects of the antioxidants you’re drinking.”
First published on The Sun.