Whether you spell it with or without the ‘e’, whiskey is one of the most common forms of alcohol in the world. Getting its start in Scotland back in the 15th century, whiskey is a spirit that’s made with several different ingredients and aged for several years. The older the whiskey is, the better it tastes (and it usually costs much more). Some people prefer different types of whiskey preparation that includes a range of ingredients, but the most common usually include barley and rye.
Whiskey is usually known as the high end alcoholic beverage that people typically have just one glass of instead of several drinks. There’s not much better than settling down at the end of the day, sitting down to relax and drinking a glass of whiskey. It might not seem like it, but that one drink of whiskey actually has tremendous health benefits. Let’s take a look at some of the ones that have been proven by research over the years.
No Beer Gut
Most people will tell you that if you want to lose weight, you have to avoid alcohol altogether as it packs on a lot of calories and can mess with your blood sugar. While drinking anything in excess is going to lead to weight gain, drinking whiskey in moderation can actually help you lose weight. If you’re able to limit yourself to a one ounce drink of whiskey per day, you’re only getting 70 calories in each drink, which is significantly lower than one drink of beer (even light beer).
Even though whiskey doesn’t have a lot of the vitamins and minerals that other foods and beverages we’ve seen have, there’s not much that’s going to get in your way. Whiskey doesn’t contain sodium or sugar unlike some of the other alcoholic drinks out there. Normally, people are good with drinking just one serving of whiskey to take the edge off, whereas people tend to overdo it on beer and wine that has a ton of calories and sugar.
You probably know how much alcohol can affect your brain when you’re drinking in excess, but in moderation, helps tremendously. Studies have even shown that one drink per day of whiskey actually reduces your chances of neurological diseases down the road such as Alzheimer’s, dementia or Parkinson’s. Whiskey also helps your brain in the short term as long as you don’t drink too much.
That’s because whiskey gets more blood into your brain (more on circulation in a moment) which enhances your memory and cognition. Part of this is because of the high amount of ellagic acid that protects the brain to help in these situations. At this point, though, you probably know that too much whiskey in one sitting can lead to some short term memory loss, so remember to take it easy.
We touched briefly on how drinking whiskey can help your blood flow, and it starts with reducing clotting. There are some situations where blood clots are a good thing, such as if you get a wound, but for the most part you want to avoid them. Blood clots near your vital organs such as the heart can be deadly. One way of avoiding excessive blood clotting is by drinking a small amount of whiskey since it raises your HDL (good) cholesterol.
The benefits for the heart don’t stop there, as research shows whiskey can aid your heart by strengthening your circulatory system. The same research showed that you can reduce your chances of a stroke or heart attack by nearly half compared to those that don’t drink at all over the long run. While some people drink an ounce of whiskey on a cold day to warm up, they probably don’t realize they’re doing themselves a huge favor heartwise.
For those that have been diagnosed with diabetes, you’re instructed to stay away from most forms of alcohol, especially beer. Whiskey is one of the few drinks that you can have if you’re diabetic, as the sugar content is extremely low. Having one drink almost doesn’t register at all on the glycemic index, meaning that you won’t experience the blood sugar spikes and crashes that can typically happen.
If you’ve never been diagnosed with diabetes, your daily drink of whiskey can make sure that day never comes. Studies show that you reduce your chances of diabetes by up to 40 percent when you have one drink of whiskey per day. Those that do have also registered more healthy glucose and insulin levels that also boost metabolism. So instead of grabbing that can of beer, consider pouring a shot of whiskey instead.
You probably don’t think of whiskey as something that can help you prevent cancer, but it’s actually packed with antioxidants that can do just that. People were pretty excited to learn that whiskey can help prevent cancer as the antioxidants combat against free radicals that attack your cells and inhibit cancer growth. The most powerful antioxidant you’ll find in whiskey is the ellagic acid that we mentioned a bit earlier, which can also help your immune system in the short term to avoid becoming ill. While the vitamins in whiskey are very small, they still add up to helping your immune system.
Low Hangover Rate
When you drink too much alcohol, you know that the other side of the night has the dreaded hangover that comes when your body gets too dehydrated. Studies have shown that drinks such as champagne and wine have the worst hangovers, while whiskey is the easiest to get through. Having just one drink will result in no hangover at all for most people, while the most you’ll feel is a slight uncomfortable sensation the morning after.
In terms of liquor, whiskey is much better for recovery than tequila! In fact, some people have even reported feeling better the next day after drinking one drink of whiskey. Since whiskey is shown to reduce your stress and calm nerves, it can result in better sleep that might not come from other forms of alcohol that can keep you up at night.
Summing it Up
With all of the benefits that you get from drinking whiskey, there are some drawbacks if you tend to overdo it, which is the case with most things. While some of the side effects of items like fruits or vegetables aren’t really talked about, the side effects for whiskey are quite well known. Drinking too much whiskey can lead to an addiction, so you might want to watch your intake if you have a family history of alcoholism.
An overdose of alcohol or binge drinking can also result in heart problems and, although whiskey is low in sugar, could lead to diabetes and weight gain. Out of all of the types of alcohol, researchers have said that whiskey is among the ones that are the best for you when taken in moderation. With that said, feel free to pour yourself a small shot or jigger of whiskey after dinner to unwind and enjoy the great health benefits!