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  • Jen Wallace

Beyond The Glass: Uncovering The Surprising Health Benefits of Whiskey

Updated: Sep 2, 2023

health benefits of whiskey
glass of whiskey

Whiskey, a precious spirit enjoyed by connoisseurs around the world, not only pleases the palate but also offers several proven health benefits. While moderation is key, scientific research has provided insight into the positive impact whiskey can have on various aspects of our well-being. From its cardiovascular benefits to its potential role in preventing certain ailments, let's explore the scientifically-backed health advantages of whiskey consumption.

1. Weight loss

Some studies have even shown that whiskey may help with weight loss. This is due to whiskey can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories.

In a study published in the journal Metabolism, researchers found that people who drank whiskey before a meal had a higher metabolic rate than those who did not drink whiskey. The study also found that whiskey drinkers burned more calories throughout the day.

2. Improved Digestion

Whiskey has been traditionally used as a digestive aid due to its ability to stimulate the digestive system. The presence of natural enzymes in whiskey can improve digestion by stimulating the production of gastric juices and promoting a better breakdown of food. Additionally, the bitter compounds in whiskey, such as gentian and wormwood, can stimulate the appetite and aid in the digestion process.

3. Anti-Cancer Properties

Certain compounds found in whiskey, such as ellagic acid, have been shown to exhibit potential anti-cancer properties. Ellagic acid has been studied for its ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon, breast, and liver cancer. However, it's important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the extent of whiskey's anti-cancer effects.

4. Cardiovascular Health

Numerous studies have shown that moderate whiskey consumption can be beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Whiskey's high levels of polyphenols, particularly ellagic acid and tannins, possess antioxidant properties that help reduce the risk of heart disease. These antioxidants can prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation, lowering the chances of plaque formation in the arteries. Additionally, whiskey has been associated with increasing good cholesterol (HDL) levels, which further contributes to a healthier cardiovascular profile.

5. Blood Clot Prevention

Whiskey contains natural compounds that can reduce blood clot formation risk. The presence of antioxidants and the thinning effect on blood can help prevent the formation of clots that could lead to conditions like stroke or deep vein thrombosis. However, it's important to note that excessive whiskey consumption can have the opposite effect and increase the risk of bleeding, so moderation is crucial.

6. Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Whiskey has long been regarded as a drink that promotes relaxation and stress reduction. Its ethanol content acts as a central nervous system depressant, inducing a calming effect on the body. When consumed in moderation, whiskey can help alleviate stress, promote relaxation, and create a sense of well-being. However, it's essential to practice responsible drinking habits and avoid excessive consumption, which can have negative effects on mental health.

Other benefits

In addition to these specific health benefits, whiskey has also been shown to have other potential benefits, such as:

  • Relieving pain

  • Improving sleep

  • Immunity

Moderation is key

It is important to note that these benefits are only associated with moderate consumption of whiskey. Drinking too much whiskey can have serious health consequences, including liver damage, heart disease, and cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) characterises moderate drinking as up to not more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women. A standard drink is defined as 14 grams of pure alcohol, equivalent to around 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Who should not drink whiskey?

Not everyone should drink whiskey, even in moderation. If you have any of the following health conditions, you should avoid drinking whiskey:

  • Liver disease

  • Heart disease

  • Cancer

  • Alcohol use disorder

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also avoid drinking whiskey.


Whiskey offers potential health benefits, but it is necessary to drink it in moderation. If you are thinking of adding whiskey to your routine for its health benefits, talk to your doctor first. They can help you determine if whiskey is right for you and can help you set safe limits for your drinking.

Additional information

The type of whiskey you drink may also affect its health benefits. For example, some studies have shown that single-malt whiskey may have more health benefits than blended whiskey.

The way you drink whiskey can also affect its health benefits. For example, drinking whiskey neat or on the rocks may have more health benefits than drinking it mixed with sugary drinks.

More research is needed to fully understand the health benefits of whiskey. However, the existing research suggests that moderate consumption of whiskey may offer some positive effects. If you are thinking about incorporating whiskey into your lifestyle for its potential health benefits, it is strongly advised to seek guidance from your healthcare professional before doing so.


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