Champagne doesn't prevent dementia but there are plenty of reasons to drink it
You may, along with thousands of other Champagne lovers, have been just a little excited this week to read in some of our most reputable publications that drinking three glasses of bubbly a day could help prevent dementia.
Cue the sound of corks popping all over the country. Alas, the reporting wasn't quite accurate and the correct amount is three glasses a week. Only a slight difference from 21 glasses, then. But still a reason to celebrate, right? (Ahem, as if we need a reason to quaff the good stuff.)
Well, unfortunately… no. Because it all happens to be a big fat lie. Put down your flutes, people, and brace yourselves for the truth.
It turns out there's no actual evidence to back up the suggestions that three glasses of champers a week could help ward off dementia and Alzheimer's disease — because the study in question (which was actually done back in 2013 but for some reason has gone viral this week) was carried out on rats. And rats are, clearly, not people.
Researchers from the University of Reading and the University of East Anglia looked at the effects of Champagne on three groups of eight rats and compared those with the effects of a non-Champagne alcoholic drink and an alcohol-free drink.
The rats were then put into a maze created to test their memory and it turned out that those who had been given Champagne performed more effectively over a certain length of time.
According to NHS.UK, we can't be sure the rats' results would apply to humans and the amount of Champagne consumed by the rodents was the equivalent of 1.3 small glasses of Champagne per week for humans.
"The apparent improvements in the Champagne group were only significant compared with the alcohol-free group — there was no significant difference in effect compared with the non-Champagne alcoholic group," added NHS.UK. "This means there is no firm proof these effects were directly the result of the phenolic compounds present in Champagne."
Just to really burst our Champagne bubbles, the NHS also reminds us that "regularly drinking high levels of alcohol is likely to cause many other health risks." Darn.
However it's not all bad news. Champagne might not prevent dementia but we have three other (fairly) scientific reasons to pop that cork — and we're choosing to believe these ones.
- Champers is rich in polyphenols, antioxidants which can lower blood pressure and maintain heart health. According to Jeremy Spencer of Reading University, "a couple of glasses a day has a beneficial effect on the walls of blood vessels — which suggests Champagne has the potential to reduce strokes and heart disease."
- Champagne is good for your skin (although this means applying it with a cotton ball, not guzzling it down). Leading dermatologist Marina Peredo says, "Champagne detoxifies the skin with antioxidants and lightening tartaric acid helps even out the skin tone. For those with oily skin, its antibacterial properties aid in leaving last year's breakouts behind."
If you're going to drink alcohol Champagne is the healthiest choice. Research has shown people who drink Champagne live longer than those who drink beer or spirits. Plus it's lower in calories than regular wine, meaning even those watching their weight can enjoy a few glasses. Cheers!