I asked my friend, nationally recognized nutrition expert and published author Keri Glassman, to weigh in on how indulging in a little champagne can offer better health.
Glassman shares that in 2009, research from the British Journal of Nutrition found that champagne has health benefits similar to those often attributed to red wine. "These researchers took a group of healthy individuals and gave them either champagne or a control beverage with the same alcohol content. Blood samples were taken, and both groups showed blood vessel dilation and increased blood flow," Glassman says. "However, only the champagne drinkers experienced a slower removal of nitric oxide from their blood." What does this mean? "Sipping a few glasses of champagne may lower blood pressure and potentially reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease."
When you’re enjoying that mimosa with brunch, pat yourself on the back, because champagne contains antioxidants – "powerful nutrients that work to contain the damage caused by free-roaming radicals in our bodies," according to Glassman. "Free-roaming radicals are often linked to disease, fatigue and weight gain. Antioxidants are important because they 'quench' these radicals and help protect our cells from damage and death."
Champagne and red wines both contain high levels of polyphenols, a kind of antioxidant. But unlike red wine, champagne is high in a specific form of polyphenol that has been shown to defend nerve cells from injury. Yet another way to add a healthy kick to your bubbly is by adding berries! Slice strawberries or add blueberries, raspberries or blackberries to your champagne flute for a delightful treat for the eyes, body and palate. Pairing champagne with orange, grapefruit or cranberry juice also ups the antioxidant ante and makes for a most charming cocktail.
I had no idea that champagne also offers us a mental boost (isn’t that awesome?), but Glassman says "just a few glasses of champagne can [help] protect your brain from damage that is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke."
The next time I pop open a bottle of bubbly, I can know that I am doing my health a favor, in ways I never would have imagined. It seems champagne can positively affect your mind, body and spirit, as long as you don’t overdo. If the worst happens and you do overdo, take some ibuprofen and drink a big glass of water before bed. In the morning, try food and fruit juice to help take the sting out of last night's buzz!
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