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Drinking Wine Can Improve Your Brain


We have heard that drinking wine can be good for your heart and provide other health benefits, and now researchers say wine can also be good for your brain. A large study conducted in Norway shows that moderate wine consumption is associated with better performance on cognitive tests.

Wine and Your Health
Numerous studies in recent years have indicated that drinking a moderate amount of wine, especially red wine, is associated with various health benefits. Some research, for example, has noted that red wine and its component, resveratrol, may protect the brain by providing neuroprotection against stroke. Other research indicates that red wine may help stem prostate cancer. There is also some evidence that red wine may help block the formation of plaque in the brain, which may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

New study details wine benefits on brain

The new study involved 5,033 stroke-free men and women (average age, 58 years) in the Tromso Study in northern Norway. All were followed for more than seven years during which they participated in a range of cognitive function tests. Investigators found that moderate wine consumption was associated with better brain function and performance on all cognitive tests in both men and women. No consistent association was seen between drinking beer or spirits and cognitive test results.

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Among women, there was a lower risk of a poor score for those who drank wine at least four times over two weeks when compared with women who drank less than one drink during that time period. Women who did not drink had significantly lower cognitive performance than women who did drink.

Although the authors of the current study did adjust for age, education, weight, depression, and cardiovascular disease, they did not make adjustments for lifestyle habits such as diet, income, or profession, which could or could not have an impact on their findings. However, their findings support results of previous studies in which it’s generally been shown that light to moderate alcohol consumption is associated with better brain function and cognitive skills, as well as a reduced risk of dementia.

Experts believe the benefits seen in this and other studies may be related to the presence of antioxidants in wine, namely polyphenols such as resveratrol, and other elements that may help reduce the risk of declining brain function that occurs with age. These benefits are apparent when wine is consumed in moderate amounts.

Arntzen KA et al. Acta Neurol Scand Suppl 2010; 190: 23-29