So, I've got a question for you — when's the last time you took a trip to the liquor store? If it's been a hot minute, by the time you finish reading this article, you might want to treat yourself to a quick run by the closest one. Now before we hop into this topic, I will be the first to say that if there's anything that requires moderation, it's alcohol. At the same time, though, I think it's important to share that when it's consumed responsibly, there are some benefits that can come from enjoying a glass or bottle of it.
That's what I'm on with this piece. I've got 10 ways that sippin' on a lil' sumthin' sumthin' can actually be better for your health than you might've initially thought (or have even been told before).
1. Red Wine Fights Off Viruses
This first one is probably a "duh" for a lot of you because we talk about red wine (which is fermented dark-colored grapes) on this site, fairly often. As far as health benefits go, the list is endless. Red wine is high in antioxidants. Red wine can benefit your heart and lower your cholesterol levels. Red wine helps to regulate your blood sugar levels. Red wine can help to ease depression-related symptoms. Red wine can even help to keep cancer cells at bay.
However, the reason why red wine gets a special shout-out here is because I'm writing this during cold and flu season and, believe it or not, red wine contains properties that can fight off free radicals. This, in turn, keeps your cells stronger which makes it more difficult to catch viruses that lead to colds and the flu. (See. I told you that you were gonna wanna run to the store, soon!)
2. Vodka Kills Germs That Cause Bad Breath
Vodka is a clear distilled beverage that can be made from all kinds of stuff; usually, it's made from a combination of potatoes, sugar beet molasses and cereal grains, though. The reason why vodka is featured in this article is because it, on average, contains 40% ABV (alcohol by volume). The high alcoholic content makes it a powerful mouthwash, thanks to all of the antibacterial properties that are in it. So, if your breath is a little ripe and you don't have any Listerine or gum nearby, a shot of vodka is basically just as good. No joke.
3. Hard Apple Cider Is Filled with Antioxidants
Something that I really like, especially around the fall and winter seasons, is apple cider. Basically, it's unfiltered apple juice. Cider becomes alcoholic when yeast is added to it which turns the sugar content of apples into alcohol. This is where hard cider comes in. For the record, there are about three different kinds of hard cider — dry cider which has the least amount of sugar, off-dry cider which has a sweeter and richer flavor and semi-sweet which is actually the sweetest. These ciders are easy to find "flat" or sparkling. They are beneficial, health-wise, because apples are loaded with antioxidants like quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. These help to reduce oxidative stress while lowering your blood pressure and promoting good gut health in the process.
4. Beer Is Full of B-Vitamins
Beer is a simple kind of drink. The reason why I say that is because it only needs four ingredients in order to exist — grain, hops, yeast and water. When those things are brewed and fermented, the alcoholic beverage that so many enjoy is birthed. Something that's cool about beer is it's a great source of B-vitamins, especially thiamin and riboflavin; that's because the grains and yeast contain both of these. Since thiamin helps to keep your metabolism on-point and offers your nerves and muscles much-needed support as riboflavin assists with breaking down carbs and gives your body energy, I'm sure you can see why I decided to put beer on the list (I've got another reason as well; it's closer to the end).
5. Tequila Can Help You to Shed Pounds
If you're a fan of agave nectar, whether you realize it or not, you are indirectly a fan of tequila. That's because they both come from the same source — the agave plant. Tequila is made by steaming the plant in industrial ovens and then distilling the liquid. While traditionally, tequila has a reputation for making folks want to dance on tables or get on their back (wink), there's something else that it has the ability to do — lose weight.
For one thing, tequila is actually safer to use than artificial sweeteners. Also, there are studies which say that it can help to lower your blood sugar levels and help you to feel fuller, longer. So, while you should definitely consume it in moderation — cause tequila can really have you OUT HERE — if you want to drink something without the worries of what it will do to your waistline, tequila actually has your back better than most.
6. Whiskey Soothes a Sore Throat
Although I'm not a heavy drinker by any stretch, don't put it past me to enjoy a couple shots of whiskey (or even moonshine) from time to time. Whiskey is an alcoholic drink that is made out of fermented cereal grains like corn, barley malt, rye and wheat. And because the properties in it have proven themselves to be a pretty potent decongestant, this is why whiskey is the base ingredient of hot toddies — it is able to help to clear up congestion (by dilating mucus membranes), provide pain-killing compounds and yes, when it's warmed up some lemon juice and cinnamon, you are well on your way to providing yourself with some pain relief and probably a really good nap too if you are a little under the weather.
7. Bourbon Can Boost Your Immunity
It's interesting that a lot of people don't know that bourbon is a form of whiskey. Ah, but it is. What makes it different is that it's made from mostly corn. I also once read that in order for whiskey to be referred to as bourbon, it has to be made in these here United States. Anyway, health-wise, bourbon is cool because it can help to dilate your blood vessels. As a result, when you have a cold or some sort of congestion, the ingredients in bourbon can help to decrease the mucus. That, along with the antioxidants in bourbon, this drink can help to build up your immunity over time. Dope.
8. Gin Is a Diabetic Alternative
Back in the day, one of my favorite drinks used to be gin and juice (grapefruit juice, that is). I never really thought about what gin consisted of but now I know. It's a drink that's made from a base grain (typically wheat or barely) that is fermented and then has juniper berries and other spices added to it. Something else that's notable about gin is you can actually make it from vodka. That's another tale for another time, though. As far as health benefits go, gin is cool because it's got a low caloric count and contains no saturated fats, carbs or sugars; this makes it a great alternative for people with type 1 diabetes. While it should go on record that no alcohol is best if you are diabetic, if you're looking for a bit of a fix, gin can give you that. Just make sure that you avoid sugar mixers. Drinking it with tonic water is usually best.
9. Beer and Wine Reduce Kidney Stones
Not too long ago, I was talking to the guy who cuts my yard about where he had been for several weeks. "Have you ever had kidney stones before?" he asked. "They are hell." Fortunately, I can't relate. I do know some people who have (mostly guys) and they share his sentiment. Anyway, one thing that can increase your chances of experiencing a kidney stone is consuming a lot of sugary drinks (juice included). On the flip side, two drinks that can decrease your chances of going through this kind of torture is beer and wine. Hey, don't take my word for it, though. You can read all about it right here.
10. Champagne Boosts Your Libido
If you've ever wondered what the difference is between champagne and wine, probably the easiest way to explain it is wine is made from grapes (or some other type of fruit) while champagne is a kind of wine that's made from a specific grape that came from a specific place. As far as what makes champagne different from sparkling wine, all champagne is sparkling wine yet all sparkling wine is not champagne. That is a bit of a complex story, though (you can read more about it via Boston Magazine's article "Understanding the Differences Between Champagne and Sparkling Wine"). Oh, and if you've always wondered why champagne has bubbles, unlike other wines, it tends to go through a second fermentation process that results in carbon dioxide gas being trapped in its bottles (about a million per flute).
Anyway, if champagne is totally your thing, because wine and champagne are both able to relax blood vessels which increases blood flow (including to your genital region), that is one way that it is able to boost your libido. Plus, word on the street is champagne can do all of this at a much faster pace than other alcoholic drinks while not totally zapping your energy in the process. This makes it a top-tier way to get those juices flowing if you're looking to have a really good night. Is your car running yet? #wink
For more inspiration, self-care, and healing tips, check out xoNecole's Wellness section here.
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