Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

"Let us speak courteously, deal fairly, and keep ourselves armed and ready." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Whiskey's Health Benefits

A prescription from a pediatrician in 1962.
OK, so the prescription above from a pediatrician in 1962 would not be considered very kosher today with today's sensitivities about almost everything under the sun. But like it or not, it is true that whiskey has its medical uses.

During the Prohibition era in the United States lasting from 1920 to 1933, all alcohol sales were banned in the country. The federal government made an exemption for whiskey prescribed by a doctor and sold through licensed pharmacies. Believe it or not, it was during that time that Walgreens pharmacy's chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400.

Whiskey has always regarded as beneficial to the human metabolism, if used in moderate amounts. With the rise of the medical technology, scientist all around the world started closer examination of alcohol products, and found that products such as wine, beer, and whiskey, can certainly be responsible for the wide variety of positive effects.

Today researchers find that a few fingers of whiskey every week can help us in a number of ways. The medical community prescribes daily amounts of 1 or 2 ounces of alcohol a week.

While there really isn't that much to whiskey except for a large amount of alcohol, it is extremely low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium, and it also has a very low level of carbohydrates.

Fact is, researchers agree that drinking whiskey can actually make your heart healthier. Yes, researchers agree that along with some red wines and certain dark beers, some whiskeys can be healthy to consume in moderate amounts. Not only will whiskey reduce the risk of blood clots, but it will lower your stroke and heart attack risk as well.

And yes, there are antioxidants in whiskey. The antioxidants in whiskey stop cholesterol from clogging your arteries. And in fact, research now show that whiskey can even boost your good cholesterol. Imagine that.

As for a cancer fighter, because whiskey is rich in antioxidants, particularly one known as ellagic acid, it is believed that this antioxidant stops one's DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds. Researchers believe whiskey actually reduces the risk of carcinogens forming. It can also protect one's body from the horrible effects of chemotherapy, and will reduce oxidation in your body.

As with one's heart, whiskey has been shown to improve brain health. No kidding. Whiskey not only helps to prevent cholesterol from building up in your arteries, but it can actually help to get rid of any cholesterol present in your blood vessels at the moment.

Besides that, whiskey will also help to relax the walls of your arteries, ensuring that your blood can flow without obstruction. Of course, what that means is that one of the greatest health benefits of whiskey is that it actually reduces the risk of a stroke.

A study conducted in 2003 also discovered that drinking whiskey reduces one's risk of Alzheimer’s and even fights dementia. Yes, it can help one's memory.

The antioxidants in whiskey can help to improve the health of your brain, and the circulation-boosting effects of whiskey has been proven to boost your memory at the same time. The same properties that help to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia will also keep your brain active and young.

So if you’re worried that your brain is slowing down in your old age, it may be time to start drinking a small amount of whiskey to protect your brain. But no, I do not recommend that you slug down a few shots if you can't remember where you put your car keys!

Now as for whiskeys being a stress fighter, that is something that most would shake their heads at. But, research finds that while stress can cause a wide range of health problems in the human body -- whiskey helps to reduce anxiety and stress, calming one's nerves and helping to relax your body.

Because of it's ability to increase circulation throughout your body, providing your organs with fresh, oxygenated blood, a shot or two of whiskey has been shown to help calm stressed nerves effectively.

So we talked about how a little whiskey helps one's heart and brain, but how about digestion?

Before a meal, it has been shown to help shut down one's appetite and prevent overeating. Enjoying a whiskey after a meal has been shown to help relax the body after eating heavy food and aid in digestion -- especially with indigestion after a heavy meal.

There is another use in that there have been certain studies that have argued for the immune system-boosting capacity of whiskey. Alcohol does have a traditional role in preventing illness and improving the function of the immune system, and now there is evidence that the antioxidants and trace levels of vitamins in whiskey do in fact stimulate the immune system -- helping to fight off normal colds, illnesses, and even infections. 

Yes, whiskey has served as an excellent antiseptic to clean wounds for ages. And yes, it has been used medically for just as long. So believe it or not, all of those old movies where someone pours a little whiskey on a wound to disinfect the would were not just fiction. Fact is we can pour whiskey on a fresh wound to make sure it does not get infected.

As for diabetes control there are reports which say that whiskey has been shown to reduce the chances of diabetes, sometimes by as much as 30 to 40%. A moderate amount of whiskey can significantly improve your body's ability to regulate insulin and glucose levels, supposedly lowering the possibility of developing diabetes.

Friends, I don't know if I would take the chance and consume any alcohol of any sort if I had diabetes unless it were absolutely under control. While that's just me, I've had a few friends who suffered from the effects of diabetes who exercised and regulated their diet so that they were able to consume an a adult beverage or two.

But, other than folks who don't have their diabetes under control, whiskey sounds like it may be better for what ails us than what some think. Because it's loaded with healthy antioxidants, and these nutrients can help to increase your lifespan by reducing your risk of disease, a few fingers of whiskey a week just might protect one's body against a variety of ailments and help us to live longer.

Imagine that all of these benefits can be had with just a couple of shots of whiskey a week. But also, as with anything, too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Irresponsible use of whiskey can negatively impact one's health with increased risk of liver problems and such. Knowing that, we must be conscious of the fact that all of the benefits of whiskey can be used with maximum efficiency only if the user is drinking whiskey responsibly in moderate doses.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.
Tom Correa

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