Champagne May Be Good for Your Heart

Posted Mon, 12/14/2009 - 9:41am by Denise Reynolds

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Do you plan to toast the New Year with a glass of bubbly? A new study published in the British Journal of Nutrition has found that the traditional glass of champagne on New Year’s Eve may be good for your heart.

A team of scientists from Reading University with assistance from two centers in Reims, France found that champagne has the same benefits that red wine has on heart and blood circulation, which may have the potential to reduce strokes and heart disease. The benefits were found to occur almost immediately after consuming two glasses of champagne.

Champagne is made by combining two varieties of black grape (pinot noir and pinot meunier), and one white grape (chardonnay). Dark grapes contain a group of chemicals called polyphenols, which are antioxidants. Two of the components, caffeic acid and tyrosol, have anti-inflammatory actions, which protects the body from injury and damage. They can also remove toxic chemicals from the body.

In the Reading University study, participants who drank 375 milliliters of Champagne were compared with a group who drank a beverage similar in alcohol and sugar content, but without polyphenols. The champagne drinkers had a reduction in the amount of nitric oxide removed from the bloodstream. The increased levels of NO cause blood vessels to dilate, lowering blood pressure. Nitric oxide is also thought to decrease the risk of blood clots forming as well.

The amount of polyphenols in champagne may vary depending upon its vintage, variety, and environmental factors according to Wine Spectatormagazine.

This study is not the first to find health benefits from champagne. A study from 2007 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has found that the polyphenol component can help protect the brain against neurological injury and may protect the brain cells from the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

If you are watching calories to start off your New Year Resolution on the right foot, Champagne is also one of the least caloric beverages. A glass of Champagne is approximately 91 calories.

Of course, if you enjoy champagne on New Year’s Eve, please designate a driver to take you home. Champagne is known to be more intoxicating than other alcoholic beverages because of the interaction between alcohol and the carbonated water that is added during fermentation.

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