It seems Facebook is constantly filled with warnings about things we are eating/drinking/doing that can cause life-threatening illnesses. It gets to the point where we don’t know if these articles are just acting like some over-bearing mother, who carries hand santiser around everywhere and won’t let us eat an ice lolly or if there is some truth to them after all. How do we know?
Well basically we know what healthy food is – even though it does have a tendency to change sometimes – and we also know that having the occasional fizzy drink is not the same as drinking sugar flavoured poison; so that’s good.
However the latest health and drink related rumour isn’t so scary. Apparently drinking champagne could actually prevent dementia. Could it be true?
One study from the University of Reading confirmed that drinking one to three glasses of champagne per week (so don’t start drinking a bottle before bed just yet) can indeed prevent dementia and memory loss.
According to scientists the findings are due to phenolic compounds, which sounds very sciency, but basically they appear in some fruit and vegetables. One fruit being grapes, especially the ones found in champagne. The study reports that the phenolic compounds ‘can improve spatial memory, which is responsible for recording information about one’s environment, and storing the information for future navigation.’ This follows up from a previous study from the university, which stated that ‘two glasses of champagne a day may be good for your heart and circulation.’ So before we look at the effects on memory, is this true?
The good news is that the heart-related champagne study used humans as subjects, so we can relate to the results – if this seems obvious, you would be surprised. The polyphenols from the grape which champagne is made from did have a positive effect. Researchers ‘concluded that their findings suggest that drinking champagne in moderate amounts may help to improve cardiovascular risk.’ So amazing! However, the study looked at just short-term effects so, unfortunately, it is not quite fact yet, however it is definitely on its way.
So now, does the memory loss research have definitive answers when regarding champagne as a preventative medicine, one which won’t even require a spoonful of sugar to help it go down?
Not quite, as the study relating to memory loss prevention used rodents as subjects; Dr David Vauzour has commented that in the future the study will also move on to showing the result on humans but for now it is only rodents who really have a study to go by – and they aren’t actually into drinking champagne, health benefits or not.
For now, the results on humans will have to wait. Previous studies using rodents, while in some cases have been predictive, are not reliable and most people would not feel comfortable putting complete faith in a study where the result on humans is not yet known. The NHS is not a fan of the study, arguing that: ‘A slightly improved maze performance in a small number of rats does not necessarily translate into humans having a reduced risk of dementia from drinking champagne.’
This has probably put champagne lovers on a rollercoaster of emotion; I mean does it help or doesn’t it? Well the answer at this moment in time is unfortunately not that simple. But the options are: Drink it and hope the outcome proves you right (…if you are going to drink it anyway at least now you sort of have a scientific excuse?)
Option two is wait for the human results; we would not suggest holding your breath for this though.
And finally option three, which is to eat fruits and vegetables containing phenolic compounds anyway as you know they are good for you and they aren’t quite as pricey as champagne.
But for those that do choose option 1, we wish you happy drinking!