Whiskey is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from a mixture of grains, such as wheat, rye, barley, corn, and buckwheat. The quality, flavour, and price of whiskey all depend on which type of grain mash is used, as well as the conditions in which the whiskey is aged and stored. Storing and aging have an immense impact on the taste and cost of whiskey. A whiskey made from wheat stored in an oak barrel for 10 years will have a distinct taste compared to a rye whiskey aged in a white oak cask for 25 years. In fact, many jurisdictions have imposed laws to do with the aging of whiskey. In Canada, whiskey must be aged in a “small wood” cask (a cast that cannot contain more than 700 litres) for a minimum of three years. In the United States, “straight whiskey” must be aged in a charred oak barrel for no less than two years.

Yet, all that effort is not in vain! Recent studies have shown that whiskey, like beer and wine, can be quite beneficial to your health, when consumed in moderation of course. Whiskey has no saturated fat, little sodium, and is rich in a powerful antioxidant called ellagic acid which is responsible for almost all of the health benefits of whiskey. If you drink a small amount of whiskey a day (2-3 ounces) you can no doubt reap some of the health benefits listed below.

#1. Weight Loss
Alcohol is not traditionally associated with weight loss, but rather “beer guts” and a general loss of muscle tone. Whiskey however, has no fat, and little sodium. It also contains simple sugars in alcohol, which are quickly broken down by the body and converted into extra energy.

#2. Heart Health
Many recent studies show whiskey to be a considerable factor in preventive heart health. Whiskey is high in “good” cholesterol, a key component in maintain a healthy heart. It also has potential (when consumed appropriately) to reduce by approximately 50% the chance of heart attack and stroke.

#3. Improve Immune System
The ellagic acid in whiskey has many assets health-wise. One of those assets is the ability to improve our immune systems. Ellagic acid and trace amounts of vitamins boost our immune systems. This helps fight infection and illness. Fun fact: you can also pour whiskey on a wound to sterilize it, if you’re ever in need of disinfectant.

#4. Fight Stress
A small amount of whiskey a day can reduce anxiety and stress. It also helps calm your nerves and relax your body.

#5. Control Diabetes
Whiskey is excellent for diabetics and non-diabetics alike. It has little sugar and can help regulate the body’s insulin and glucose levels. It can reduce your chances of getting diabetes by 30%.

#6. Boost Memory
Ellagic acid helps increase circulation in the brain. This, in turn, increases brain function which ultimately boosts our memory.

#7. Reduce Blood Clots
Blood clots are an important part of our body’s healing process, but can be fatal if blood is clotted internally and disrupts organ function. Atherosclerosis can result from a buildup of “bad” cholesterol. This combined with unwanted blood clots results in thrombosis which can lead to death. Whiskey is a blood thinner, which lowers your chance of excess clotting. It can also increase the amount of “good” cholesterol which in turn counteracts the “bad”.

#8. Helps Prevent Dementia
Studies also show that the ellagic acid in whiskey helps fight dementia. The antioxidants in the ellagic acid fights “free radicals”. Free radicals are a group of atoms that have an unpaired, or odd, number of electrons. They can be formed when oxygen reacts with certain molecules. Once formed, they can start a chain reaction. This can be dangerous if these cells interact with other cell types (skin, blood, brain, etc.) and our DNA. Antioxidants, especially those contained in whiskey, can help counteract this effect but stabilizing the free radicals. The ellagic acid in whiskey fights the free radicals that interrupt neuron pathways and help fight the brain’s aging process, thus inhibiting dementia.

#9. Increase Longevity
Because of whiskey’s power to fight disease it can also increase your lifespan. Keep in mind, this is when whiskey is consumed in moderation. Excess drinking will not in any way increase your longevity.

#10. Digestive Aid
Whiskey has been used for centuries as a digestive aid. It is often drank after meals. Not only does it reduce your chance of stomach ache after a large meal, but also helps the digestive process itself.

#11. Prevents Cancer
Free radicals are a major player in the development of cancer within the body. They attack cells that are then mutated or killed, causing the spread of cancer through the body. The ellagic acid in whiskey neutralizes these free radicals, and prevent the spread of diseased cells.

In short, whiskey holds many health benefits that are not to be overlooked. That being said, it will do you no good to consume whiskey (or any alcohol) to excess. Excess consummation will completely counteract any benefits you might have hoped to gain from drinking whiskey.