According to a study, drinking up to three glasses of champagne a week could help prevent Alzheimer's. Shutterstock/Africa Studio

Rejoice party people! It seems like your champagne-filled nights are going to give you some benefits after all! Well, sort of. According to a study by the University of Reading in the UK, drinking one to three glasses of champagne a week could improve your memory for people over 40. Scientists at Reading have shown that the phenolic compounds found in champagne can improve spatial memory (responsible for recording and storing information) by modulating signals in the hippocampus and cortex of the brain, which control memory and learning.

These compounds favorably alter a number of proteins known to be depleted with age, which eventually will lead to dementia. What the champagne does is that it slows the regular course of the proteins, helping prevent the cognitive losses that occur during brain ageing. “These exciting results illustrate for the first time that the moderate consumption of champagne has the potential to influence cognitive functioning, such as memory. Such observations have previously been reported with red wine, through the actions of flavonoids contained within it,” said Professor Jeremy Spencer, from the Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University of Reading.

“However, he added, “our research shows that champagne, which lacks flavonoids, is also capable of influencing brain function through the actions of smaller phenolic compounds, previously thought to lack biological activity. We encourage a responsible approach to alcohol consumption, and our results suggest that a very low intake of one to two glasses a week can be effective.”

To study the effects of champagne on the human brain, scientists experimented with rats, who would consume a small dose of the beverage with their daily food. They would then have to go through a maze to find more food. Without champagne, rats would find it with a 50% success rate, while those who had the beverage found the food with a 70% success rate. After six weeks of regular consumption, scientists discovered that the necessary proteins to improve short term memory had doubled their concentration.

Dr. David Vauzour, researcher on the study, added: “In the near future we will be looking to translate these findings into humans. This has been achieved successfully with other polyphenol-rich foods, such as blueberry and cocoa, and we predict similar outcomes for moderate champagne intake on cognition in humans.”

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