Alcohol gets a pretty bad rep, but the truth is that alcohol has from the beginning of time been used as medicine. It is safe to say that we have stranded pretty far from using it for medicinal purposes (unless healing a broken heart counts?). But that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing good about alcohol or that it’s bad for you. You have to remember that the dose is the poison, so as long as you aren’t overdoing it, some alcohol can have great benefits for your health, either immediately or over time.
Wine is many people’s favorite, but it’s not just a good pairing with meat or something to deglaze the pan with. Red wine contains a lot of antioxidants which prevent damage on a cellular level. Antioxidants are also good for the skin as they help with preventing aging. Red wine also helps protect against heart disease by regulating your cholesterol levels. And if you need more, it protects the body from gallstones and kidney stones, as well as type 2 diabetes.
Bloody Marry is basically a salad
When you think about it, vodka is one of the few spirits that is low in calories. That means that it is just there to spice up the main event: tomato juice. Which, if taken unsweetened, is very healthy for you. There’s plenty of antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C to keep you healthy. And the other add-ins aren’t bad either – horseradish is a common ingredient, but it has antibiotic properties and literally fights the common cold. Add in the stick of celery, which has negative calories (meaning it burns more calories than it contains) and helps prevent kidney stones. So if you’re trying to live a healthy life, you don’t have to stay away from all cocktails.
If you come home from a long day of stressful work, you might need something to calm your nerves. Some will use meditation, some will go boxing, but if you want something quick and easy, whiskey is the way to go. It slows down the brain activity (which should tell you in itself why you shouldn’t overdo it) which relieves stress. A good quality drink like the Glenfiddich whiskey will help you control your cholesterol, which will also do heaps of good to your heart, in addition to the help it gets with the antioxidants. But this is a drink that should be enjoyed in small quantities and drank slowly.
Your favorite party drink might not be that bad for you, if you stop before you get to the body shots. Tequila is super-low in calories, even lower than vodka, and the natural sugar it contains, Agavins, is non-digestible, so it will behave in your body like fiber and will not affect your blood sugar levels. But even better, the sugar will help you lower cholesterol levels and lose weight, so it’s the perfect thing to order if you’re trying to stick to a specific regime. And always pair it with lime for that good vitamin C boost, and don’t overdo it on the salt.
Pop one open and have a drink, because it’s time to celebrate the benefits of champagne. Besides being good for your skin, the main benefit of champagne is a sharper mind and better memory. Our brain cells don’t recover, but the compounds in champagne improve your spatial memory. These compounds come from the two red grape types that are used to produce alcohol. Scientists even speculate that it can be used to prevent Alzheimer’s, but since there’s been so little research done on that, for now, it’s just recommended that all alcohol is consumed in small amounts, and no big conclusions are drawn.
Alcohol does have some great benefits, but don’t think that drinking it bails you out of actually leading a healthy lifestyle. You need to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly, and if your doctor tells you that you have a problem with cholesterol, hitting the bottle isn’t the way to fix it. Drink responsibly and think of these benefits as ways to add to and boost your health, not as a way to achieve it.