Health Benefits of Whiskey: More Reasons to Pour on A Drink
It was Mark Twain who said that “Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” Did he simply relish the rich, smokey flavor of this “water of life” or was he also aware of its health benefits? Either way, several studies have shown that whiskey can be, and is, beneficial to our health. So go on and pour yourself a glass as you glean these health benefits of drinking whiskey to the last drop.
Whiskey contains little to no sugar content, making it a great drink for both diabetics and non-diabetics. It can also aid the body in maintaining good insulin and glucose levels, which in turn, reduces the possibility of developing diabetes. The process of aging the whiskey in wooden barrels does not just give the liquid its rich color, but also forms ellagic acid. Upon consumption of the whiskey, this ellagic acid can control how much glucose is released from the liver and eventually help keep blood sugar in check. By consuming whiskey regularly in moderate amounts, people can reduce their chances of developing diabetes by up to 30% and even protect against type-2 diabetes.
Boosts Immune System
Our immune system keeps us protected by fighting off infections and viruses. Antioxidants and trace levels of vitamins found in whiskey have been known to stimulate the immune system by dilating blood vessels and making it easier for the mucous membrane to deal with common illnesses like colds and nasal congestions. As such, you may want to consider pouring yourself a drink every now and then, for the sake of your immune system, of course. Since it can inhibit the development of many diseases, there are many who claim that whiskey can help us live longer lives. With its alcohol content, whiskey can also be used to disinfect open wounds, sterilizing them to prevent infections and aid in the healing process.
Aids in Weight Loss
While a healthy diet and exercise should not be traded for a glass of whiskey, studies have also shown that drinking whiskey moderately can aid in weight loss. Compared to beer and other mixed alcoholic beverages, whiskey contains very little amounts of sodium, cholesterol, little or no fat, and low calories. Due to its distillation process, whiskey is also gluten-free, so if you do come across a really sweet whiskey, know that it is not sugar. Most of that taste comes from the combination of the other oils and compounds in the drink. This makes it a non-fattening drink and a great go-to beverage if you are on a diet. Whiskey also contains carbohydrates in the form of simple sugars, but these are quickly broken down and converted into energy.
Can Help Prevent Dementia
Constant forgetfulness and confusion are often signs of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s or dementia. These degenerative diseases can be partly attributed to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the brain. While it is true that excess alcohol is harmful to your brain regardless of your age and can sometimes impair your thinking, consuming whiskey in small amounts regularly helps in preventive degenerative diseases by increasing the flow of blood to your brain. An increase in blood flow means more oxygen is available to your brain which helps improve memory while putting off the onset of these diseases.
Whiskey can also successfully boost your cognitive performance. The ellagic acid in whiskey known is a powerful component that fights against free radicals within the body. These free radicals can be associated with disrupting the neural pathways and also contribute to the slow decline towards dementia, hence another reason to pour yourself a glass of the good stuff.
Reduces Internal Blood Clotting
Blood clotting is crucial for preventing excessive blood loss when an individual sustains an external injury. Internally, however, a blood clot is fatal, especially if it occurs in the arteries or blood vessels. If not treated immediately, a blood clot in these key junctions can result in heart attacks, strokes, thrombosis and death.
One common cause of internal blood clotting is atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries and cut off proper blood flow across the body. This plaque is composed of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances found in the blood, which hardens and narrows the arteries. Whiskey is largely acknowledged as a blood thinner. This is because it triggers the uptake of fats and causes an increase in the release of the good cholesterol(HDL cholesterol), thereby counteracting the chances of fat deposition and blood clots taking place inside the capillaries.
Improves Heart Health
Separate studies from Harvard University and the European Heart Journal concluded that moderate amounts of whiskey can reduce the risk of heart disease and heart failure. This is because whiskey increases HDL(high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol which counteracts the effects of LDL(low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. By reducing the chances of internal blood clotting and improving blood pressure, whiskey can help prevent heart diseases.
In addition, downing a shot of whiskey can increase the body’s level of antioxidants, which contributes to heart health by hindering the oxidation of lower density lipoprotein and helping to protect against coronary heart disease. The phenolic compounds in whiskey are absorbed easily into the body and this helps in getting rid of blood clots and prevents the damage caused by oxidative stress.
When taken in moderate amounts, whiskey can be helpful in improving digestion. Whiskey suppresses appetite, gets rid of stomach aches and indigestion by stimulating the stomach’s production of pepsin which is the primary enzyme in the digestive system that breaks down proteins into polypeptides. This amazing beverage is also known to heighten secretions in the pancreas and gallbladder, which improves the digestion process.
Calms Your Nerves and Helps You Deal with Stress
Being healthy means you are taking care of your mental health with the same effort as your physical health. That said, stress is inevitable in our world today and being exposed to high amounts of stress for long periods can do a lot of harm to your mental and physical health. Consuming moderate amounts of whiskey is a good way to keep your stress levels in check. You’ve probably seen it in movies all the time or perhaps you’ve experienced it first hand; whiskey does help in settling the nerves and helping you relax better, which in turn means better stress management.
The same antioxidants found in red wine that help the body fight its susceptibility to cancer are similar to the ones found in whiskey. Single malt whiskeys have higher ellagic acid content, which can help to stop the chain reaction of toxins that may lead to mutation or cell damage. It also keeps free radicals away and helps your body against further damage that can result from chemotherapy.
There are dozens of published works today extolling the virtues of consuming whiskey in moderate amounts. These studies have debunked the age-old myth that consuming alcoholic drinks is entirely bad for your health. They are only bad when taken in excess. Now you know that small doses of whiskey once in a while can help you maintain your physical and mental health so what are you waiting for? Pour on a drink today and toast to a healthier and longer life.
Keep in mind, however, that these health benefits are not a reason to rationalize your drinking problem if you are an alcoholic. Enjoy!