We all have that friend who consumes liberal amounts of red wine under the pretense, “Hey, it’s good for me.” And yes, red wine has benefits, in moderation. One more time — IN MODERATION.
But red wine isn’t the only alcohol that can improve your health. Whiskey—ophiles can rejoice—that single malt scotch on the rocks that you love so dearly is actually good for you. Now, non-drinkers, before you scream “Blasphemy!” and “Poison!” at your unresponsive computer screen, let’s get this out of the way: not everyone should drink. Talk to your doctor if you are unsure. But if you do enjoy partaking in a few now and then, take a minute to familiarize yourself with some of whiskey’s widely unrecognized powers.
Relieves cold and flu symptoms
Your grandparents knew what was up. A shot of whiskey is not only full of antioxidants, but it can knock a cold right out of you. How so? The alcohol content of whiskey actually works to relax your blood vessels, allowing your body to better respond to infection by allowing the mucus membranes to ease, thereby relieving congestion. Of course, drink too much whiskey and you’ll get dehydrated, which is especially unwelcome when you have the flu. Just a shot will do.
Move over red wine, your oaky cousin has some anticancer benefits, too. Single-malt whiskey contains considerable amounts of the antioxidant ellagic acid — yes, in a more absorbable concentration than red wine. This antioxidant is believed to significantly prevent the replication of cancer cells. It also scavenges free radicals, and can act as an anti-inflammatory agent against the inflammatory effects of pure alcohol. Essentially, drinking good whiskey appears to be less inflammatory to the body than drinking other clear liquors due to a high elegiac acid content.
Heart disease prevention
The smoke from the peat absorbed in the whiskey-crafting process produces phenols, which are also found in wine. These phenols have been shown time and time again to reduce the risk of heart disease. It’s important to note, however, that mature, aged whiskeys contain the greatest amount of antioxidants.
Newer whiskeys are far less phenol-dense, so it pays to splurge on the good stuff. Fortunately or unfortunately, all you need to drink is one shot a week to get this disease protection. In addition to whiskey’s list of glories, drinking alcohol is full of general health benefits. Moderate drinkers have been shown to have a 25 percent reduced risk of dying than non-drinkers any given year, a 54 percent lower chance of developing dementia, a 50 percent reduced risk of stroke and an overall 30-40 percent reduced chance of developing diabetes.
Now, to reiterate, moderation is key. Drinking copious shots of any sort of alcohol isn’t going to do your whiney liver any favors. But, if you do consume alcohol, indulging in an aged, smoky glass of Scotch can actually be incredibly beneficial. So go grab your favorite tumbler and drink to your health.