I'm sure you don't need yet another reason why you should be drinking bourbon because it seems intuitive that you should be because it's amazing, but just in case, we wanted this week to explore the health benefits that the magic brown water we all love possesses. Whiskey has a long history of being used as medicine, in fact, in 16th century Scotland, apothecaries would sell whiskey as a tonic which would cure congestion, relieve joint pain and even slow the process of aging. Of course, we've come a long way in our understanding of bourbon since the 16th century and below we discuss just a few of the various health benefits related to consuming bourbon.
Bourbon, drunk neat without being diluted by mixers can help with weight loss. Compared to beer or other alcohol choices bourbon is lower in calories, with no carbohydrates. In fact, a 1.5 ounce shot of bourbon contains only approximately 97 calories and 0 grams of carbohydrates. On average, compare that to a pint of beer which contains 208 calories and 17.6 grams of carbohydrates. If you're on a diet and still want to have an alcoholic beverage, or two, make the switch to bourbon and transition to a healthier you.
After living through the past few years between a pandemic, ups and downs of the job market, the stock market, civil unrest, and the fact that at one point we couldn't even buy toilet paper at the store, stress relief is kind of a big deal in our lives. In fact, the National Institutes of Health notes that stress is a leading cause of premature death, which likely comes as a surprise to nobody. The good news for you is that drinking bourbon has been shown to reduce stress and calm nerves. It does this through its sedative like properties whereby relaxing the body through slowing down brain activity and increasing circulation delivering more oxygenated blood to the body. Drink bourbon to achieve your own personal Zen, a state of calm attentiveness.
I'll have to admit that I was a bit skeptical on this one, but as bourbon ages in the barrel a very potent antioxidant, ellagic acid is formed. As you may, or may not know, antioxidants fight free radicals in your body which is a type of molecule produced normally by your cells which can build up and cause damage to DNA, lipids and proteins ultimately leading to an increased risk of cancer and other diseases. Ellagic acid not only helps prevent DNA from attaching to cancer causing elements like nitrosamines, but it helps prevent free radicals from being formed altogether, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. Drink more bourbon as future you will thank you.
There's an old saying that a shot of bourbon can help with colds, and although this may seem far-fetched or untrue, there is actually some truth to this statement. As mentioned above, bourbon helps with blood flow and in dilation of the blood vessels acts a sort of decongestant. The antioxidants (ellagic acid) that we just discussed that naturally form in your dram help boost your immune system potentially leading to a faster recovery. Drink more bourbon to stave off cooties and illness.
It's probably worth noting that like anything, bourbon should be consumed in moderation. The Center for Disease Control's 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that if you are an adult of legal drinking age moderation equates to two drinks or less in a day for men and one drink or less for women. The benefits described above only come when drinking in moderation and when drinking responsibly (e.g. don't drink and drive).
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Bourboneur Glencairn Glass