And champagne is good for you, too. It’s packed with polyphenols, which are antioxidants from the grapes. They help to:
• protect your brain
• strengthen your heart
• keep your blood pressure low
• increase the “feel-good” chemicals in your brain
There are other plants that have some of the same compounds. Cocoa for example. But while a cup of hot chocolate is good, it somehow doesn’t seem as fun as ... say ... a mimosa.
You get champagne either by combining two kinds of black grapes, pinot noir and pinot meunier, or by using the white chardonnay grape, and letting them ferment. That just means you let the grapes sit there until their sugars turn into alcohol.
But with champagne, you let them ferment twice, instead of once like regular wine. That’s when the bubbles start to form.
And that’s when the fun starts.
Not just for celebrations, but for your body, too. Because champagne is very healthy.
Champagne gives you the same amount of heart protection as red wine, helping you heart’s pumping performance, increasing heart muscle energy production, and protecting your heart’s cells from damage.1
The British Journal of Nutrition published a study that looked at whether or not champagne could affect how well your arteries work. They discovered that champagne specifically – not the alcohol, or the antioxidants from the grapes – makes your arteries work better.
They gave people two glasses of champagne to drink, and found that The Bubbly boosts nitric oxide. That’s the compound that relaxes your blood vessels and lowers your blood pressure. And the effect lasts for up to eight hours. 2
A different study found that the antioxidants in the phenolic acids have another benefit. They appear to improve your skin ... and may protect you from skin cancer.
In one study published in an important but not well-known journal from New Zealand calledClinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, scientists at a research university in Italy gave people polyphenols from grapes and then measured their skin hydration, elasticity, and roughness. They also looked at how much the antioxidants were protecting the people’s skin on a cellular level, too.
After only a few weeks, everyone who got the polyphenols had internal skin cell protection levels that had gone through the roof. And the people had more natural skin moisture and their skin elasticity had improved. Even better, their skin was smoother, the depth of wrinkles had diminished, and the intensity of age spots had significantly decreased.3
And many new clinical trials are showing that the kind of polyphenols in champagne are important for prevention, slowing, and reversing skin tumors and other cancers.4
The Bubbly Releases A “Feel-Good” Brain Chemical
Champagne can also be beneficial in other ways. For example, it causes you to release dopamine, the “feel-good” brain chemical that helps you to move around, think positively, and experience pleasure.5
It’s well documented that one drink a day for women and up to two a day for men can help you live a longer and healthier life. And with all the extra heart and brain benefits you get from The Bubbly, it’s a good idea to drink some even if it isn’t a special celebration.
So how do you choose a champagne that packs plenty of polyphenol punch?
The first thing you want to remember is that even though the word “champagne” usually refers to all sparkling wines, actual champagne only comes from France. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other wines like champagne. You can also try a sparkling white wine from California, which are made the same way champagne is made in France. Or you can try champagne’s sexy cousins, Spumante from Italy and Cava from Spain.
• Champagne – The best champagne is not made every year, but only when the wine is good enough. Those champagnes have a “vintage,” or year they are made, and are very expensive, like the famous Dom Perignon or Cristal.
These expensive champagnes are also very “dry,” which means they have a slight bitterness… but that bitterness is good. It comes from very high polyphenol content. Don’t worry, though. Sweeter champagnes – ones that are less dry-tasting – are still plenty healthy.
• California sparkling white wine: You only get the health benefits from real “sparkling” wine. That’s because the real sparkling wine gets its bubbles from natural fermentation in the same style they use in France. If a wine is artificially carbonated like soda, the label will say the wine is “effervescent” instead of sparkling.
• Spumante – Like French champagne, this kind of Italian sparkling wine is only made in one region of Italy. You may have heard of Asti Spumanta, a popular brand. Spumante is lighter and less bubbly than champagne, and less expensive. Also, it’s best if you drink it within three years of the vintage.
• Cava – Made exclusively in Northeastern Spain, Cava is made the same way as French champagne, but from Macabeo grapes. It’s fruitier than other sparkling wines, and its bubbles last longer.
On The Web: If you would like to learn more about sparkling wines, here are some websites to visit:
1. Snooth: Find better wines – www.snooth.com/
2. California champagnes: Information on the wineries that make California sparkling wines, and where to get the best buys –www.californiachampagnes.com/
3. Wine Spectator: A popular wine magazine that has news, rating and tips on finding what you want – www.winespectator.com/
4. Decanter: Another good Web wine magazine with videos, ratings and a “wine finder” search bar – www.decanter.com
5. Robin Garr’s Wine Lovers Page – www.wineloverspage.com/
6. Joe Roberts’ “One Wine Dude” – www.1winedude.com
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD
1 Dudley JI, Lekli I, Mukherjee S, Das M, Bertelli AA, Das DK. "Does white wine qualify for French paradox?" J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Oct 22;56(20):9362-73.
2 David Vauzour, et. al. "Moderate Champagne consumption promotes an acute improvement in acute endothelial-independent vascular function in healthy human volunteers." British Journal of Nutrition 2010; Volume 103, Issue 08.
3 Buonocore D, Lazzeretti A, Tocabens P, Nobile V, Cestone E, Santin G, Bottone MG, Marzatico F. "Resveratrol-procyanidin blend: nutraceutical and antiaging efficacy evaluated in a placebocontrolled, double-blind study." Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2012;5:159-65.
4 Korkina L, Pastore S, Dellambra E, De Luca C. "New molecular and cellular targets for chemoprevention and treatment of skin tumors by plant polyphenols: a critical review." Curr Med Chem. 2013 Mar 1;20(7):852-68.
5 Boyer JC, Bancel E, Perray PF, Pouderoux P, Balmes JL, Bali JP. "Effect of champagne compared to still white wine on peripheral neurotransmitter concentrations." Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2004 Sep;74(5):321-8.