Come happy hour after a long day at the office, you may have a glass of your favorite Cabernet on your mind—literally. According to new research from a Spanish food lab, red wine helps protect your brain from neurodegenerative destruction and prevent brain-busting diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Huntington's. With other studies already out there linking red wine to health benefits, don’t be surprised if your doctor gives you a bottle of Rioja instead of a lollipop on your next visit.
Scientists at the Institute of Food Science Research in Madrid took samples of gut metabolites (cell products like fuel, structural compounds, etc.) from regular drinkers, mixed them with brain cells and then attacked those brain cells to see how they stood up to the stress. To the surprise of no oenophile, the study found the red wine-soaked cells resisted the assault better than those from the teetotaling control group.
There are a few conditions to the good news, though. You’ll have to limit your daily intake to 8.5 ounces (about a glass and a half) to meet the researchers’ definition of moderate drinking and gain all the benefits of your imbibing. And don’t go swapping your after-work gym sesh for happy hour. The researchers emphasized that the brain-boosting benefits of downing vino require that you keep a healthy lifestyle outside the bottle as well. So just make sure to double fist your pinot with a protein shake.