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Food & Drink

Can Whisky Be Good for Your Health?

Whisky has been around for centuries and is famous worldwide. But can this revered libation also be good for your health? Of course, no one is suggesting you drink as part of your five-a-day, but it’s possible that sipping a small dram may have some health benefits.

During the American Prohibition, one sure-fire way to get hold of a tipple was by slipping your doctor a few bucks. 1920s physicians used whiskey to treat various illnesses, including asthma and cancer. But, we now know these ‘cure-alls’ were most likely a way for doctors to fatten their wallets.

Skip forward to the present day, and we learn that whisky contains ellagic acid, a berry-derived antioxidant. Studies reveal that ellagic has the potential to kill cancer cells and slow tumour growth. This acid may also help reduce inflammation in the body and minimise the risk of obesity.

Whisky is a favourite drink for those looking to relax and unwind. It contains fewer calories than other alcohols, has no carbs and has little sugar. As a result, whisky is an obvious choice for people with diabetes. If diabetic’s blood sugar levels are low to moderate, they should be fine to drink neat whisky. 

This spirit includes congeners, which can be rough on the stomach if drunk in excess. On the flip side, sipping a single cask whisky is a great way to close out the night. Its high proof content stimulates stomach enzymes, helping meal digestion. And due to its scarcity, drinkers are unlikely to overindulge regularly.

When colds strike, whisky enthusiasts favour a ‘Hot Toddy‘. Lemons contain vitamin C, which boosts your immune system. Cinnamon decreases inflammation in the body, and cloves may improve liver function and lower blood sugar. Adding honey to a Hot Toddy helps soothe sore throats and coughs. Whisky only plays a small part in the health remedy here. The mixture of ingredients acts as a mild sedative. Because our brains interpret warm beverages and warm feelings as the same thing, cold sufferers benefit from its soothing effect. 

According to studies, someone who drinks 1 to 6 measures weekly has a lower risk of dementia than non-drinkers. In addition, whisky may help those at risk of Alzheimer’s disease slow cognitive decline. However, enthusiasts can easily skew data. People who limit their alcohol use to one drink per day tend to lead healthier lives.

When discussing the advantages of alcohol, we should remember the age-old maxim: everything in moderation. 

So, does whisky have health benefits after all? Possibly. Although folks who drink sensibly are more likely to experience them. Whisky drinkers shouldn’t get too excited just yet – further study is needed to say whether or not the ‘water of life’ has any real health perks. In the meantime, enjoy your whisky responsibly!