Drinking alcohol is as much a taboo a subject as cigarette smoking was in the 90’s, and with binge drinking on the increase in women over 40, there’s every reason to be concerned. So when I was faced with the prospect of writing an article about National Tequila Day for my blog this month, I have to say I was a little reluctant due to the plethora of rather misleading articles out there promoting the health benefits of Tequila!
Is this just a PR stunt brought about by those with a vested interest in the drinks industry I thought?
Tequila’s bad reputation
For me and I’m sure, many others, Tequila has a bit of reputation for being abused in drinking games. In Tequila ‘slammers’ where a group of people show off whilst downing shots of Tequila with salt and lime. However, in Mexico, where it was first developed, it is considered a sophisticated drink, treated with respect and best enjoyed by taking slow, measured sips.
Tequila and Osteoporosis
According to researchers from the Center of Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico, the blue agave (a cactus-like succulent used to produce Tequila) features substances called ‘fructans’ that can help improve the absorption of magnesium and calcium in the body, thus aiding the maintenance of bone health.
This research at first glance seems like great news for women over 40 – a tipple that you can enjoy in moderation whilst helping to reduce or stave off Osteoporosis. Not so. As the liquor is made by heating the plant’s starch-rich heart to convert the starches to sugars, it is questionable whether or not the true goodness of the plant is lost during the fermentation and distillation process.
Tequila as a Probiotic
Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. They help to keep our bodies in balance and promote a healthy digestive tract. It seems that some of the fructans that Tequila is derived from actually supply these ‘good’ bacterias. Sadly, this is just in small doses, so downing Tequila in any quantity will be counter productive (and extremely unhealthy) as it will most likely destroy your natural reserves of healthy bacteria as your immune system is forced to work overtime on the toxins inherent in any alcohol.
Tequila is a Prebiotic
It is said to improve the intestinal environment, so it allows good bacteria to thrive. There is now links between Prebiotics and sleep, so maybe a shot of Tequila aid sleep? Probably not as it is well documented that although drinking alcohol in the evening can help you fall asleep faster, it will ultimately lead to a more restless night.
The list of benefits goes on and includes claims about reducing the risk of early onset of dementia and the preventing Type 2 Diabetes. Quite frankly, all these claims can be dangerous – a more sensible approach would be to consult your doctor about the benefits of including the fructans derived from blue agave in your diet in a natural form, or speaking to a reputable health store.
And if you do fancy a drop of Tequila ….
The health conscious among us may say that in everything we consume, ‘pure is best’, so my you could always take a leaf out of the Mexican’s book and choose Tequila made from 100% agave then sip, enjoy and drink in moderation.