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10 Health Benefits of Whiskey

Written by andy

All the health benefits of whiskey you wish you knew earlier… you’re welcome:

Whiskey is one of the best alcohols you can drink. Not only is it the least likely to give you a hangover, but it’s also one of the healthiest around. You’ll find that having a few fingers of whiskey every week can help to:

  1.  Avoid Weight Gain — Whiskey is a low-calorie alcohol, especially when compared to the many cocktails, beers, and wines you can find on supermarket shelves. You can drink a tumbler of whiskey without worrying about packing on the pounds thanks to its low sugar content.
  2. Boost Heart Health — Did you know that drinking whiskey can actually make your heart healthier? Aside from wine and dark beer, what other alcohols can claim that? Not only will whiskey reduce the risk of blood clots, but it will lower your stroke and heart attack risk as well. The antioxidants in whiskey stop cholesterol from clogging your arteries, and it can even boost your good cholesterol.
  3. Fight Cancer –– Whiskey is rich in antioxidants, particularly one known as ellagic acid. This antioxidant stops your body’s DNA from coming in contact with cancer-causing compounds, reducing the risk of carcinogens forming. It can also protect your body from chemotherapy, and will reduce oxidation in your body.
  4. Improve Brain Health — A study conducted in 2003 discovered that drinking whiskey reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you’re worried that your brain is slowing down in your old age, it’s time to start drinking whiskey to protect your very important organ from damage.
  5. Reduce Stroke Risk –– 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. It will also help to relax the walls of your arteries, ensuring that your blood can flow without obstruction. One of the greatest health benefits of whiskey is the reduced stroke risk, and we can all drink to that!

READ MORE: Whiskey Passion Fizz

  1. Fight Stress — Stress can cause a wide range of health problems in the human body, but thankfully we’ve got whiskey to kick stress’ butt! Whiskey helps to reduce anxiety and stress, calming your nerves and helping to relax your body. It can increase circulation throughout your body, providing your organs with fresh, oxygenated blood. A serving or two of whiskey can help to calm stressed nerves effectively!
  2. Boost Memory — The antioxidants in whiskey can help to improve the health of your brain, and the circulation-boosting effects of this alcohol will 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.
  3. Aid in Digestion –– Did you know that whiskey has long been drunk as a digestive aid? It was usually consumed after a meal, helping to relax the body after eating heavy food. It can also help to shut down your appetite, preventing you from overeating. Best of all, it will aid in digestion, reducing your risk of stomach ache or indigestion after a heavy meal.
  4. Lengthen Lifespan –– Whiskey is loaded with healthy antioxidants, and these nutrients can help to increase your lifespan by reducing your risk of disease. By protecting your body against disease, you prevent the slow breakdown of important cells in your body–thereby helping you to live longer.
  5. Great for Diabetics –– Whiskey is a zero-carb alcohol, so you can drink it without worrying about the effect it will have on your blood sugar levels. If you suffer from diabetes, a finger or two of whiskey will be the right choice for you!

Read More: Health Benefits of Cheese 

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Resources: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1489648/Whisky-helps-fight-cancer.html, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/alcohol-full-story/,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/234957.stm, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9805220,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12636463, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1750-3841.2007.00311.x/abstract?deniedAccessCustomisedMessage=&userIsAuthenticated=false, http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1031484,

About the author

andy

Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

176 Comments

    • It has worked for me, I’m 73 yrs. old and I have none of health issues listed. Cheers to you, but remember, moderation should always be considered. Also, no binging. To your health. Chris Rouault..

  • Any links to the actual evidence? I drink whisky 5 days a week, and besides my desire to these being true, this all seems a bit suspect!

      • Yes, and from the Telegraph article irresponsibly referenced as support for it’s ability to fight cancer:

        “However, Dr Lesley Walker of Cancer Research UK, pointed out that the same acid was found in fruit, and said she was “very concerned” that whisky was being promoted as a cancer prevention agent without data to support the claim.

        “On the contrary, there is considerable data documenting the link between drinking excess alcohol and the increased risk of a number of cancers, particularly in smokers,” she said.

        “Ellagic acid is a powerful antioxidant but that does not mean it is necessary to hit the bottle.

        “There is an abundance of this acid in soft fruits and the charity suggests this as a much healthier way of increasing antioxidant intake.””

      • it’s all bullshit. Submit this article to /r/science and you will immediately learn this is in fact the case.

    • From study published Feb 10 in British Medical Journal:

      “A review of nearly 53,000 British people found little to no health benefit linked to alcohol consumption, once the results were adjusted for a range of personal, social, economic and lifestyle factors, the researchers reported.”

      By all means, drink, but you can stop pretending that it’s for your health.

  • I’d love to know all the sources for this data. Share it with me and I’ll get you free passes to a whiskies of the world festival most convenient for you. You can contact me through the website whiskiesoftheworld.com

  • First point should read: “Whiskey is low calorie alcohol but higher calorie count than most other forms of hard liquor.” This article is all about just making you feel better about drinking. A majority of the other points you can replace the words “whiskey” with Wine, beer, vodka, or rum and you’ll have the same points.

  • By definition, “whiskey” is distilled beer. Beer is fermented grain. On the other side there’s “brandy,” distilled wine, which is fermented fruit. So, what does he mean when he says “whiskey?”

  • As for reducing your stroke risk? It’s due to it contributing to lowering your HDL (i.e. “good” cholesterol) You could also walk, eat more fatty fish and/or dark chocolate.

  • Good article…even more benefits to drinking the stuff that’s spelt without the “e”…whisky!! (Before I get trolled by the uninitiated, that’s a joke, folks! But Scottish whisky is superior to whiskey from elsewhere!)

    • Actually ‘whiskey’ is the Irish spelling and pre-dates the Scottish I actually think, on the whole, Irish whiskey is better while I do love some Scottish single malts.

      • Ford pre-dates Lexus. It’s therefore a better car, right?
        Irish whiskey is treble distilled, and rarely uses peat in the process. This is why it’s smooth, and easy to drink – they all taste similar. Scottish whisky, on the other hand, is double distilled and uses peat in the malting process, producing a wide variety of favours and sensations, some of which are not for the faint hearted!! Whisky for the connoisseur, whiskey for the consumer!

        • Actually, not knowing much about Scotch, maybe you could recommend a few good one’s for you cousins in Kentucky…….;)

          • My personal favorite is Loch Lomond, a highland single-malt that is smooth and rich. Trouble is, it’s near impossible to find outside western Scotland. Best buy I’ve found is on Amazon Germany, and I can get it shipped to my home in the U.S for about $27 a bottle (price may vary depending on the exchange rate between the Euro and the dollar).

          • They show 6 different varieties, I am assuming you buy the “Highland” Single Malt which can be purchased online. Thanks, I will try it.

          • Sorry Randy, I’ve not checked these for a while…recommending a whisky to another isn’t easy as our tastes and personal preferences all vary, but this in itself is part of the joy of appreciating whisky, unlike other tipples that taste the same every time.

            The two suggestions that I can make are as follows: 1) avoid at all costs drinking your whisky with anything but water and/or ice. Better still, take it neat! If you’re glugging it down with Coke or Ginger, then just stick to the “crap” stuff, and avoid the real whiskies. (What’s the point if all you’re tasting is Coke?) There is much debate about the neat/water/ice preferences, but only you will work out what’s good for you. The water tends to open up the whisky and permit the flavour to come out, and generally 1 part whisky to max 3 parts water is the rule.

            2) Whiskies come in numerous varieties and tastes. Start with light, “simple” ones, e.g. Glenkinchie, Glenlivet, Benriach, and then progress to those with the stronger flavours, and then to end up with the “smoky” or “peaty” ones – Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, etc. Depending upon your own preferences you may find these last ones too much as they are not to everyone’s tastes!

            It’ll also depend upon what you are able to find in your part of the world, but I’m sure you’ll be able to source some good stuff with a bit of effort!

            Good luck and slainte!

          • Thank you for the input it is appreciated. Being a Bourbon drinker I never mix anything other than filtered ice and a dash of water. My preferred method is a Highball glass filled with crushed ice, slowly pour Makers Mark over the ice so that it melts just a bit in, add just a splash of water and viola….the best cocktail ever (in my opinion). It seems like most Bourbon or Whiskey drinkers I know started out mixing with Coke as I did, but that was well over 25 years ago. I switched to water after reading an article long ago. I was hooked after the very first taste. CHEERS to you!

      • Dear Scottish dude, you jest…no self-respecting Scotsman carries the name Randy, and none use the word “dude” either. Me thinks that whilst you may be fortunate to have Scottish ancestry, that you’re probably a citizen of the ex-colony, err, I mean the U. S of A!
        Sláinte!

        • My good man – The name Randle definitely can be traced back to Scottish origins as well as other forms such as Ranhgnal which while not originating in Scotland, has its history there as well. Randy is considered the short version of same. The Surname Hudson although mainly traced to England can also be traced back to Scotland. My great, great, great Grandfather left your Island paradise for the USA sometime in the very early 1800’s. His Son landed in the middle of Bourbon Country, in Bourbon County Kentucky no less. As a self described Bourbon drinker of character I will only admit to having Irish/Scottish heritage, I can think of nothing of value that comes from England other than a vintage TR6. Once us boys in Kentucky are done aging our Bourbon in NEW “charred oak barrels” we send these used barrel to Scotland where they are used for aging Scottish Whisky. Using these barrels that held the finest Bourbon for 5 to 8 years is a great way to start the process of Scottish Whisky. Jack Daniels (Tennessee Whisky) starts with Bourbon and adds the Lincoln County Process which utilizes Maple Charcoal filtering in a feeble attempt at a marketing strategery (Kentucky word for strategic process…LOL).
          I use Jack Daniels to clean the barbecue Grill on my deck, and as a spot remover…..as nothing of value that I can see ever came from Tennesse either.

          One of my goals is to visit Belushi’s Newquay as I have their webcam on my favorites and I visit fairly often (when it is working). So yes, I identify as a displaced “Scottish Dude” running amok in this barren Country otherwise know as the USA. Hopefully I can be accepted as such.

          My apologies if I offended anybody from England, or Tennessee but hey…it is what it is.

          Health to you as well…….Cheers.

          • “I can think of nothing of value that comes from England other than a vintage TR6.”…then “My apologies if I offended anybody from England”. I can’t imagine how you could offend anyone with such a balanced opinion. Damned mouthy yanks. (My apologies if I offended anybody from USA)

          • I’ll add that Four Roses (single) is an absolute joy, and quite affordable. Bulleit is a bit pricier, but I prefer that to MM46, or Blanton’s.

      • Wrong wrong wrong about Kentucky Bourbon. Scottish, and specifically Islay single malts are the world’s best.

    • You’re obviously one of the unitiated. Kentucky bourbon is the best stuff on earth these days. But hey, keep to what you know. That means more for the rest of us.

    • Except what dear old Jack Daniels produces in Lynchburg, Tennessee! But you Scots do manage to do one hell of a good job with your stuff, also!

      • Sir, one has to acknowledge that Jack Daniels actually starts life as Bourbon, it is then run through what they have termed the “Lincoln County Process” which merely adds filtering through Maple Charcoal.

        All good things come through Kentucky…….Go CATS!

    • Irish monks invented whiskey. I was once a confirmed Scotch man. I moved from Scotch to high-quality Irish as my wisdom increased and my taste matured. I have never looked back. Redbreast pot still single-malt cask strength: THAT’S whiskey!

  • A. Alcohol i made out of sugar, so while I know what you mean to say it is low sugar, you have to clarify that it isn’t whiskey without sugar. B. ALL alcohol has heart benefits. That’s science. And also fact.

      • LOL! Don’t lie to him like that. It’s kinda like eating nutrients. All at once, a lot of it will get eliminated by the body the next time you use the bathroom because the body doesn’t simply save all that stuff and decide to use it when it needs to.

  • 8. Brain damage

    Long-term drinking can cause a person to have brain damage later on in life. Alcohol is particularly damaging to younger peoples brains as it is still developing during their teenage years, and can affect behaviour, the ability to learn, and recall things.

    9. Cancer

    Drinking alcohol is the second biggest cause of throat and mouth cancer, smoking being the first. There are different speculations at the moment as to how alcohol actually causes these cancers, but it has been established that it can cause them.

    Liver diseases as a result of drinking can also aid towards liver cancer.

    10. Reliance

    Studies suggest that drinking regularly over the recommended guideline (or just on a regular basis) can lead to dependence on alcohol. This can have affects on family and friend relationships, contribute to all of the above health issues, and can head you in the direction of becoming an alcoholic.

  • Unfortunately the reality different :-

    1. Brain damage

    Long-term drinking can cause a person to have brain damage later on in life. Alcohol is particularly damaging to younger peoples brains as it is still developing during their teenage years, and can affect behaviour, the ability to learn, and recall things.

    2. Cancer

    Drinking alcohol is the second biggest cause of throat and mouth cancer, smoking being the first. There are different speculations at the moment as to how alcohol actually causes these cancers, but it has been established that it can cause them.

    Liver diseases as a result of drinking can also aid towards liver cancer.

    • Samir, did you know too much oxygen is deadly for you because it makes your blood basic, as well as make newborns blind? As is overhydration with water because that can affect the kidneys and throw off your electrolyte imbalance. Or potassium because it throws off the heart’s rhythm. Also coarse hair like beards are the best environments for microbes and other tiny creatures to live? Which is why it’s best to trim all hairs. But I guess we won’t touch those things because we all spent so long thinking they were ok whereas other things are considered bad for you because we’re taught to hold on to that growing up. Of course in excess, anything is bad. Such as food. Just saying. =)

  • On the other hand too much whisky will damage your liver… So one has to be careful on the amounts as well and not exaggerate cause you will end up damaging something else. :/

  • As with everything else you put in your body, anything in excess is bad. Mmkay? Just some food for thought to those who are ready to dismiss this because they can’t part with the dated knowledge they possess. And news flash, most liquors come from some plant product. We all should know this. So stop stating that “you can find the same things in…” blah blah blah.

    We need a credible study that boasts about the positive effects of EtOH (alcohol) in the body so these people can finally shut up.

  • A friend of mine who is 70 drinks whiskey almost everyday, and I must say that he still looks well after all these years. The most fascinating thing the check-ups such as liver function and heart functioning all turn up well, so I guess Whiskey must have some benfits. I’m not so sure about the cancer thing though….

  • If this is all so then the other good news is there are hundreds of new Whiskey producers popping up as part of the Craft Distillery Movement all across the US. Several hundred already open now and 20-30 new ones opening per month. Give them a few years to age their whiskeys and Americans will have many new local choices for whiskey and bourbon, vodkas and gins too. Several websites are available to find these local distillers such as http://craftdistillerytours.com

  • aren’t all spirits carb free? – they’re all distilled so all you end up with is ethol alcohol which is later diluted with water or left cask strength.

  • my grandfather drank a shot of whiskey (ok, bourbon) every night before going to bed. Once in a while he’d tie one on, but not very often (once or twice a year). he lived to be 95

  • If you’re drinking enough whiskey to where gaining weight would be a problem – you’re probably an alcoholic and need help.

  • One might think you are the kind of guy who can be found sipping on a “Bourbon and Coke” without realizing you aint drinking Bourbon, and only wannabe’s drink Whisky or Bourbon in Coke.

    My taste is for Maker’s Mark on the rocks, or a Maker’s 46 neat. Have you ever tried a Woodford Double Oaked neat? These are very fine “affordable” Bourbon’s which can not seriously be compared to any Whiskey on the market….but you knew that, right?

  • Real Whisky (Single Malt Scotch) is not spelled with an “e” by law. All
    other whiskies are forlorn imitators and beneath contempt. If you are going to spend $15 or more on a decent cigar do the right thing and purchase a nice 15 year old (or older) Single Malt to enjoy with it.

  • Actually, any alcohol, properly used (not over indulged) can a benefit for health. The problem, as is usually the case, is the abuse of alcohol. In moderation, wine, beer, spirits and grain alcohols can be beneficial. There’s really nothing new here, just another way of saying “drink responsibly.”

  • Re the weight loss claim… yes it’s low calorie, but your body will choose alcohol first as a fuel source over fat, so it may not actively add weight, but it will ‘pause’ weight loss.

  • Drop a worm in a glass of water and it will thrive. Drop one in a glass of whiskey. It dies. Proof that if you drink whisky you’ll never have worms. Enjoy.

  • Paid for by the Scottish Whisky Board. Ps. Alcohol in any form leads to weakening of the heart muscle, throat cancer, cancer of pancreas, Serotonin depletion and depression. So you really need to weigh up to risks. Eating cooked tomatoes or drinking decaf coffee and tea do all the same health benefits as this article is claiming, without the included risks.
    Just saying.

  • what they dont tell you is your allotment is only half an ounce a month’ shhhhhh, i won’t say anything if you dont.

  • Unfortunately, these are all pretty dubious. And the one about whiskey and diabetes is flat out false, thus pretty dangerous “advice”. Alcohol is alcohol (be it from beer, wine or whiskey), and can cause your blood glucose level to drop (or rise). If you’re taking meds that lower your blood sugar, adding alcohol to the mix (regardless of source) can cause hypoglycemia.

  • As a Whiskey drinker I’d love to believe this is all true in moderation. It’s all confusing, heavy drinkers, outlive non drinkers, antioxidents etc, I know stress is a killer for sure. I’m sure ellgaic acid is a good antioxidant but as other’s have said you can get if from fruit etc, but not the stress relieve. Hey it’s like gambling, you can put all the odds in your favor and still die young. I’ve known people who never smoked, drank, etc but stressed out died of cancer by 50…. but also have relatives that have been drinking for decades and are in their upper 80’s and early 90’s….Just look at Willy Nelson, 80 years old a dedicated pot smoker, the man should have had lung cancer years ago, yet I have a relative that never smoked pot or a cigarette in her life and was dead by 69. No one really knows, just don’t drink and drive and kill other people ;-0

  • Although I love a little whiskey now and then, this was one of the most ridiculous articles I have read in a long time. First, there is ZERO scientific evidence to support any of these claims. Next, whiskey (like the other dark spirits) contains chemical compounds known as congeners which are notorious for increasing your risk for a hangover the next day. I was really hoping to actually hear some good information but this article is nonsense…at best.

  • I thought this article was harmless garbage until I came to the diabetes one. Really? Whiskey is good for diabetes? Now you’ve become dangerous. Sure, it’s low carb, but alcohol itself has 7 calories while carbs only have 4. Now while it has a lower glycemic index, because it first goes to the liver and is turned directly into fat, it will still jump up your blood sugar. Blood sugar is not the end-all-be-all of diabetes however. Alcohol does a host of other things such as increase your appetite and suppress lepton which tells your body you’re full when you’re stuffed to the brim. It also makes your peripheral tissue less sensitive to insulin, as in type 2 diabetes. Most of your benefits are just repetitions of the good work of antioxidants, but this is just stupid and dangerous. While we’re at it, all alcohol reduces your blood clot, stroke, and heart attack risk because it also increases your INR which thins out the blood. That can also cause dangerous bleeds which will also kill you, especially if you’re on other medication which things the blood. Oh and it destroys your liver, causes atherosclerosis, type 2 diabetes, and ruins your life and many, many other ways. Anyone reading this article should ignore all the idiot things said in it. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all, but never fool yourself into thinking that it’s actually doing you could. It’s fun, it’s nice, but it is in no way better than not drinking it at all.

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