Everybody has their “go-to” alcoholic beverage. For me, and a lot of other folks I hang with, that is a good whiskey. In fact, both my wife and I enjoy the kick and the smooth smoky taste of whiskey– and while we are both health and nutrition writers – neither of us were aware of the many health benefits of our favorite “adult beverage.”
Here are 7 surprising health benefits of drinking whiskey!
- Weight loss – Yes, if you are concerned about your weight, whiskey is a better choice than beer or wine when you belly up to the bar. That’s because whiskey is a low-carb drink. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition published a study in 1991 that suggested that moderate intake increases energy and decreases the desire for sugar (sucrose) intake. If you’re counting your calories, a shot of whiskey is 64. So put down that beer and have a shot of Jack Daniels instead. And, because drinking whiskey is less likely to contribute to obesity than other potent potables, it can also decrease your risk of diabetes.
- Cancer Prevention – Another great health benefit of whiskey is its high concentration of ellagic acid, which is a powerful cancer-fighting antioxidant. Single malt whiskey is said to contain more antioxidants than red wine.
- Stroke and Heart Disease – Again, in moderation, because of its blood-thinning properties, a daily shot of whiskey can lower a person’s risk of stroke and coronary artery disease.
- Cold and Flu Treatment – Bet you had a dad, or maybe a grandad who when you had a cold or cough, said “just give the kid a shot of whiskey…,” or a mom or grandmom that mixed you up a “hot toddy.” Well, turns out they were right! Unlike other “home remedies,” this one has its basis in science. The ingredients of this favorite winter beverage have many of the same properties as a dose of Nyquil. Whiskey acts as a decongestant by dilating your blood vessels, while the honey, lemon, and herbal tea have anesthetic properties and can loosen mucus.
- Stress Relief – Chances are you probably have headed to the bar after a bad week at work to try to erase your troubles, but you may not know that a shot of whiskey can actually help you relax. The barbiturate effect of the alcohol can reduce stress, and also has sedative properties to help you sleep if you’re experiencing anxiety. This is why whiskey is a classic choice of nightcap for badasses the world over.
- Digestion and Gastric Distress – Whiskey has historically been used to help ease digestion in many cultures throughout the ages. If you’ve had a heavy meal, an after-dinner shot of Maker’s may be right on the “Mark” to finish it off properly.
- Help You Live Longer – A 2010 study released by the Research Society on Alcoholism found that middle-aged and older adult moderate drinkers had a lower overall mortality rate than heavy drinkers or even non-drinkers. So raise a glass of your favorite Tennessee Whisky and toast to a long life!