We all know the health benefits of red wine. A glass has been proved to ward all evil away and keep heart disease at bay.
Red wine’s resveratrol and polyphenols and natural body chemicals are all the components associated with heart health. The full bodied wines tastes great with red meat and the medium bodied ones can be enjoyed after a hard day’s work, unwinding on the sofa, with a loved one.
But were are not here to talk about red wine today… did you know that champagne also appears to have beneficial vascular benefits ? (And all the bubbly drinkers say… “YAY!”)
A 2009 study in the British Journal of Nutrition investigated whether the polyphenols in champagne have effects similar to those in red wine on heart health. Healthy adults were randomized to consume either champagne or a control beverage with the same amount of alcohol. Blood and urine samples were drawn and vascular function measured at regular intervals after finishing the drink.
The results of the study showed champagne caused blood vessels to relax and dilate thus increasing blood flow. These changes were related to the alcohol content of the drinks. However, there was one other small benefit, characteristic to the champagne it also contributed to vascular nitric oxide levels to further enhance the dilation of blood vessels. Nitric oxide (NO) is produced from virtually all cell types composing the myocardium and regulates cardiac function through both vascular-dependent and -independent effects. The former include regulation of coronary vessel tone, thrombogenicity, and proliferative and inflammatory properties as well as cellular cross-talk supporting angiogenesis.
NO which is primarily produced in the blood vessels’ endothelium, or lining, increases blood flow, prevents fatty deposits from sticking to blood vessel walls, keeps walls from getting too thick and stiff, and prevents the arteries from narrowing. All of the major culprits in heart disease, overweight, lack of exercise, smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high levels of homocysteine and lipoprotein (a), damage the endothelium. And a damaged endothelium doesn’t make enough NO, which results in more damage in an increasingly dangerous spiral.
In blood vessels, nitric oxide signals smooth muscle to relax so the blood vessels can dilate. The polyphenols in champagne may be partially responsible for maintaining vascular nitric oxide levels.
At the moment, the study has some limitations because it only included 15 participants. However the researchers concluded that regular moderate champagne intake may improve blood flow and vascular performance. Still a Yay in the right direction for us bubbly drinkers no? 😉