Toast to Bubbly's Big Benefits
This festive beverage helps your heart, smooths your skin, and more!
Top off that flute—your ticker will thank you! Champagne and other sparkling wines can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke because the polyphenols (plant chemicals with antioxidant properties) in bubbly help lower your blood pressure, a study from the University of Reading in England found. Sip aglass once a week to reap the benefits, says Jeremy Spencer, PhD, the senior researcher. Just don't have more than one a night—as with any booze, over-imbibing hurts your health.
Another reason to say cheers: Champagne's carbon dioxide may help tighten your skin, and its polyphenols combat redness. Soak in this soothing bath suggested by Kristin Fraser Cotte, founder and CEO of The Grapeseed Company: Combine 1 cup powdered milk and 1/2 cup Epsom salts in a bowl; add 1 or more cups of any sparkling wine (no need to splurge on the pricey stuff) and 1 tablespoon honey warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir, then pour into running bath water. When the tub is full, add in rose petals—they're a natural emollient that hydrates and tones. To double the indulgence, sip a glass while you soak.
Feeling like a Grinch? Drink some champagne! Bubbly contains natural trace elements that may help boost your mood if you imbibe in moderation, says Tran Ky, MD, co-author of The Healing Power of Champagne.
To enhance champagne's positivity power, drink it with a fish dish. Its crisp flavor pairs perfectly with seafood, says Mireille Guiliano, author of French Women Don't Get Fat Cookbook, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are rich in omega-3s, which also help make you happy.
Got some left over from last night's bash? Use it to make a tasty, light vinaigrette. "Champagne can be used in place of orange and other fruit juices, adding flavor without being cloying," says Frances Largeman-Roth, Health's Senior Food and Nutrition Editor and co-author of The CarbLovers Diet.
Plus, the acidity helps cut through the richness of the oil, making it taste lighter and brighter on your tongue than other dressings. Try this recipe: In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons champagne, 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon honey, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper; whisk well. Drizzle over 5 ounces of baby spinach; toss with pear slices and toasted walnuts. Delish!
For a figure-friendly holiday drink, pick bubbly, says Carolyn O'Neil, RD, co-author of The Dish: On Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous! At 78 calories per 4-ounce pour, dry "Brut" champagne is one of the lowest-calorie libations you can have.