Tequila has earned a pretty bad rap.
Well known as the drink of choice for “lining up” and “slamming”, this Mexican-born alcohol has been blamed for bad decisions and regretful hangovers since it was brought to the United States in the late 1800s. Red wine, on the other hand, has received the most attention as being “booze with benefits” by helping to lower cholesterol, lower your blood sugar, and protect your heart. But scientific research has found that just one ounce of high quality tequila (i.e., 100 percent agave) has several health benefits that will make you think twice the next time you order a drink at the bar:
- Increasing insulin production.
- Improved digestion and overall function of the digestive tract.
- Improved insulin production.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Decreasing pain levels.
- Helping to prevent osteoporosis.
Sound too good to be true? Let’s see what the scientists have to say about the health benefits of tequila (when taken in moderation) can do!
GETTING TO KNOW TEQUILA
But first, let’s get to know a little bit more about our good friend, tequila!
First of all, hundreds of brands of tequilas are separated into two categories, 100 percent blue agave and mixed. Mixed tequila contains alcohol derived from at least 51 percent blue agave and the remaining amounts from other sugars (usually cane sugars). When reading labels you can determine mixed tequila as a bottle that does not state “Tequila 100% de agave”.
There are five types of tequila:
- Blancos (colorless) and Platas (silvers) – typically right out of the distiller (have higher proof than platas)
- Reposados – must age at least two months
- Añejos – must age over one year
- Extra-añejo – aged beyond three years
Wooden barrels infuse color and flavors of oak and brandy to aged tequilas. Much like whiskeys, the more they age the more complex they get. Blancos and platas typically taste most like the agave plant, and the clean flavor makes them a favorite for mixing cocktails (like margaritas).
If you’re looking to acquire the health benefits that tequila has to offer there are a couple disclaimers to start:
- 100 percent Blue Agave ONLY.
- Tequila can provide these benefits in moderation only (i.e., one ounce per day).
TEQUILA ENCOURAGES INSULIN PRODUCTION
Tequila is made from the blue agave plant. Blue agave contains fructans which are not digestible by the body and acts as a dietary fiber. This means the sugars used to produce tequila are non-digestible in the digestive tract. In addition, tequila also naturally stimulates the production of insulin and is a good drink choice for diabetics and people watching their blood pressure.
TEQUILA IMPROVES DIGESTION AND OVERALL FUNCTION OF THE DIGESTIVE TRACT
Taking a shot of high quality tequila after a meal has been linked to aiding in digestion. In addition, tequila can also help in maintaining the proper balance of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract, assisting with digestion and other health issues. The fructans in blue agave produce healthy bacteria that populate our intestines and supports our immune system.
On a side note, people who suffer from chronic conditions affecting their digestive systems, such as Crohn’s Disease, IBS and colitis, can also get benefit from the fructans in tequila because it contains natural chemical carriers that protect medication from breaking down in the stomach, so they can get to the colon where it is needed. Scientists are looking into using fructans in prescription drugs to help treat these diseases.
TEQUILA CAN IMPROVE INSULIN PRODUCTION
It also presents the opportunity for diabetics to enjoy tequila now and again, as the fructans being non-digestible, acts as fiber. By passing through the body undigested, it avoids the dangerous blood sugar spike as well as stimulates insulin production.
TEQUILA CAN LOWER CHOLESTEROL
Studies have shown that tequila can break down dietary fat, which can certainly lower bad cholesterol.
TEQUILA CAN ALLEVIATE PAIN
Aside from the alcoholic effects of tequila, it has also been proven to dilate blood vessels, which results in better blood flow, minimizing pain levels. Also, thanks to it’s relaxing benefits, tequila can help calm the nerves and can help out if you’re not getting good quality sleep.
AND THE BEST PART …
Drinking high quality tequila doesn’t give you a hangover! If you’ve gotten a hangover because of that last “regretful” shot at the end of the night it’s because it was a mixed tequila with added colours and additional sugars. So the next time you are looking for an excuse to choose something off the drink menu at your favourite restaurant … and you’re sick of drinking red wine … choose a shot of 100 percent Blue Agave tequila!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrea Oh is an accomplished writer, published author, podcaster, and local blogger in Calgary, AB (Canada). Follow her adventures at www.sixfootcanasian.ca or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@sixfootcanasian).