Can Drinking Italian Wine in Moderation Improve Your Memory?

Age brings with it an increased likelihood of memory loss.

This is not a small problem. Statistics from the United States show us that approximately 40% of people aged 65 or over experience some form of age-associated memory loss. That accounts for about 16 million people. Expanding this to the rest of the world suggests that hundreds of millions of seniors will experience issues with their memories.

If only there was something that we could do about it.

Of course, there are many techniques that help people to keep their cognitive faculties strong. Anything that involves solving new problems or causing the brain to learn can also keep the memory strong. In this way, we can think of the brain as a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it gets. By using it more often, you may be able to slow memory decline or even improve your memory.

But there’s something else that may be able to help you with your memory:

Italian wine!

Does that sound strange?

It shouldn’t because Italian wine has been linked to an array of health benefits, including the prevention of heart disease and even cancer. Memory falls under that umbrella of benefits if some recent research is to be believed.

What Does the Research Say?

In 2017, a Yale neuroscientist named Gordon Shepherd shared some interesting information about wine. He said that he believes drinking wine engages more of the human brain than any other behaviour. Even solving complex mathematical problems apparently pales in comparison to drinking a glass of Italian wine.

Why does this happen?

On the surface level, we have the sensory experience that comes with drinking wine. Any wine lover will tell you that the drink engages almost all of your senses. Taste is the obvious one. But you also get engulfed in the aroma of wine and will use your eyes to examine its colour and the legs in the glass. We can even throw touch and hearing into the mix. After all, you need to hold a bottle of wine to pour it and you’ll be engaged by the sound of the drink being poured into the glass.

Shepherd’s work took this surface-level understanding of wine and went deeper.

He told us that drinking a sip of wine triggers a complex series of mechanisms involving the wine and air. Your jaw, tongue, throat, and diaphragm are engaged simultaneously, along with the odour and taste receptors that are already sending signals to your brain about the wine. That combination triggers a heavy cognitive workload that your brain has to work its way around.

Think of the combination like a puzzle.

Your brain has to put all of these pieces together to identify the pattern that allows you to identify the taste and texture of the wine. This combination also triggers various other cognitive functions. Emotions, such as joy, occur when you drink the wine. And when it comes to memory, your brain is going to pick through its vaults to find something about the wine that it recognises. A note from a wine that you drank years ago may be pulled from the memory banks, leading you to recognizing an element of the wine you’re drinking right now.

In short, your brain goes into overtime every time you take a sip of Italian wine.

And that’s not all. Italian wine (red in particular) contains a certain plant compound that has a huge impact on your memory.

What is the Compound?

If you’ve read any of the many health-related articles in the Xtrawine blog, you may already know the answer to this question.


Because the same compound that can slow the signs of ageing, improve your skin, and strengthen your heart is the compound that can help with your memory.

We’re talking about resveratrol.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that is found in all red wines. We’ve spoken about its benefits numerous times before. But when it comes to memory, resveratrol has a very important function.

It opens a special chemical pathway that limits to damage and stress placed on the DNA cells in your brain. This combination of stress and damage is one of the root causes of the memory loss so many people struggle with as they age.

This information comes from a team of scientists from the Scripps Research Institute. Based in California, the team discovered this special chemical pathway and saw that resveratrol has the same anti-ageing effects on your brain as it has on the rest of the body.

This work was backed up by a team of scientists led by Ashok K. Shetty. Based in Texas A&M’s Health Science Centre College of Medicine, Shetty found that drinking red wine has a positive effect on the brain’s hippocampus. For those who don’t know, this is the part of the brain that is most directly related to your mood, ability to learn, and, crucially, your memory.

Shetty ran studies on rats and discovered that those who received regular doses of resveratrol experienced improved blood flow to the brain, which encourages growth and improves memory function. The rats that didn’t receive the antioxidant sill maintained an ability to learn from their environments. However, their spatial memories declined significantly after about two years.

What Does All of this Tell Us?

We’ll tell you what it doesn’t tell us first.

You should not start guzzling bottles of Italian wine every day to experience these health benefits. As powerful as resveratrol is, you can’t forget that Italian wine also contains alcohol. Going too far with the amount you drink will reverse the positive effects wine has on your memory because you’ll be drinking so much alcohol that your brain is actually negatively affected.

So, you need to drink in moderation.

A glass or two a day should be enough for you to experience the memory benefits of drinking Italian wine. Finally, you should probably stick to red wines if these benefits are your main reason for drinking. As wonderful as white wine is, the different production method means that less resveratrol is in these drinks, making red wine more effective for preserving memory.

Now, you just need to get your hands on some Italian red wine.

Xtrawine is here to help with our huge collection. Browse today and we’re sure you’ll find a new wine to help your brain and memory.


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