Indulging in a nice glass of wine is a great way to relax and unwind.
But vino sipping might offer another mental benefit, too.
According to new research, while we’re powering down that glass of wine, our brains are actually powering up. Turns out, partaking of the grape gives us a mental workout. Thank you, science.
News coming out of the Yale School of Medicine says sniffing and analyzing a wine before drinking it engages our grey matter. Neuroscience researchers at Yale have discovered that when folks have a glass of wine, they’re engaging more parts of their brains that during any other human behavior.
When the drinker swirls the wine around in their mouth, the tongue’s intricate muscles are put to work, and thousands of taste and odor receptors are fired up. The research delves into the process in detail: it addresses the fluid dynamics of how wine is manipulated in our mouths; the effect of its appearance, smell and mouthfeel; and the way our brains process and share all that information.
Overall, the process engages the brain more than listening to music or solving a difficult math problem, say researchers. The scientists suggest that unlike something that utilizes a specific source of knowledge (like math), wine tasting engages our mind and senses more completely.
And while it’s typical during a wine tasting session to spit out wine after letting it dance it your mouth, scientists say swallowing is a key part of the tasting process and resulting high-level mental activity.
But don’t overdo it. After a few sips, people turn wine into water in their minds and tend to down it. At that point, you’ve saturated your system and are no longer getting the mental stimulation. Drink too much, and your brain will be strained in a whole different way – an awful hangover.