Many people may wonder about the health benefits of gin, and whether a glass of gin away could help you feel better. Although this is an alcoholic drink, one derived from juniper berries, there are some health benefits associated with drinking it in moderate quantities. If you’re ready to add a glass of gin to your diet each day, take a closer look at how many health benefits gin can offer to you.
Is Gin Good for Your Health?
Gin is a type of distilled alcoholic drink. It’s in a broad classification of spirits with various styles, flavor profiles, and numerous formulas. While there are a number of different types of gin drinks out there, gin itself – as a standalone drink – can be considered good for you in a number of ways. Though each person’s needs may be different, and some may not wish to drink gin at all, many people will find that gin is good for your health.
The Alcohol in Gin
Is it possible to enjoy the health benefits of gin even though it’s alcohol? Alcohol isn’t necessarily bad for your health. Research from the Mayo Clinic indicates that moderate consumption of alcohol is okay for health and that it may reduce the risk of developing heart disease, stroke risk, and potentially diabetic risk.
However, too much alcohol is never ideal. Heavy alcohol use, which would be more than 1.5 fluid ounces of distilled spirits like gin per day, could pose risks to your health. Substance abuse can develop, creating an increased risk of heart disease, liver damage, accidental overdose, and brain damage. Finding the middle ground here is very important for anyone considering adding alcohol to their diet.
If you suffer from a substance abuse problem, or you are prone to binge drinking, do not include gin in your diet. For those who are at risk of complications from liver disease, heart disease, or those who are taking medications, don’t consume any alcoholic drink. Speak to your doctor about how well alcohol can be tolerated.
Gin contains alcohol. Because there are numerous types of gin and various formulas for producing it, it’s actual alcohol content can vary from one brand to the next. Most brands have an Alcohol By Volume rate of 37.5 percent. Most gin is 80 proof. However, there are some varieties that are less, as low as 20 proof, and others that may be higher than this. Also consider that alcohol from gin, mixed with other forms of alcohol, such as vermouth, changes up the alcohol percentage.
Health Benefits of Gin Botanicals
What makes gin healthy is the botanicals in it. Each gin brand contains a different variety of botanicals, which means each gin flavor or brand may offer different health benefits. This helps them to have their unique tastes. Here’s a look at some of the most popular botanicals used in gin and what this contributes to the drink’s health benefits.
The most common ingredient most gins include is juniper berries. In gin, the seed cone produces a variety of junipers, which are very small seeds. These seeds contain a powerful punch of nutrition packed into them, but they also have a strong flavor, which serves as the base flavor for most gins. These contain bioflavonoids that act as antioxidants in the body. That means they are able to wash away the toxins found in cells. It also has an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal property, which helps to create anti-inflammatory benefits throughout your body. This can:
- Improve skin quality
- Help keep the skin healthy from rashes such as eczema
- Improve digestion
- Lower high blood sugar levels in those with diabetes, according to some studies
- Act as a diuretic to reduce bloating
Angelica root is another common ingredient in gin. It’s the roots and seeds from angelica root that helps to give it that earthy, wholesome flavor gin has. It is sweet, and it also has a strong scent to it, which makes it an excellent addition to creating the well-rounded flavor of gin. Angelica root has a number of known health benefits, including:
- Reducing the symptoms of heartburn
- Settling digestive problems, including reducing flatulence
- Reducing inflammation causing arthritis
- Potentially minimizing stroke benefits by improving blood flow and circulation
- Easing stress and anxiety
The second most common botanical in gin is coriander, sometimes called Chinese Parsley. When enjoying a glass of gin, you’ll notice a bit of spice and a nutty, full-bodied flavor. That generally comes from the coriander within it. The health benefits of coriander may include:
- Reducing skin inflammation
- Boosting kidney function and health
- Decreasing bad cholesterol (LDL) levels
- Improving blood pressure
A lesser-known botanical in gin is orris root. It adds a bit of sweetness to gin and can also help with that earthy taste. It comes from the iris flower that’s dried out for as long as five years before being used to make gin. That flower is then ground into a fine powder and blended into the formula for most gins. The health benefits of orris root may include:
- Improving nervous system function (including brain health)
- Improving blood flow to the follicles, encouraging healthy hair
- Aiding in clarifying the skin
- Improves blood sugar control
- Good for your gut health
- Reduces the risk of heart disease
Lemon is a fantastic addition to many gin blends. It’s a powerful flavor in some brands and typically creates that fresh, vibrant flavor. It adds a lot of citrus to gin. And, lemon is good for you with a high level of antioxidants and flavonoids in it. This can help to:
- Reduce the risk of developing some cancers
- Boost Vitamin C intake, which improves energy levels
- Boost Vitamin B intake, which can improve cell health
- Supports heart health with zinc and potassium, along with magnesium
- Prevents kidney stones
- Reduces the risk of internal bleeding
Orange is another common flavor in gin with lots of citrus benefits, including many of those that lemon offers. In many gins, the orange peel is dried, and the oils from the peel are extracted. This adds a bit of bitter taste to gin. The health benefits of orange include:
- Providing Vitamin C, which works to purify and protect cells from free radical damage
- Reducing chronic disease risk with flavonoids including preventing cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Boosting the immune system, therefore helping you to stay healthy longer
- Reducing blood sugar levels
- Lowering cholesterol levels to a normal range
Cardamom is that fall-time spice that adds a lot of flavor to many gins. It is somewhat like ginger, but a bit more potent. It blends well with gin’s sweet flavor and tends to help balance the juniper berry flavoring. Cardamom health benefits include:
- Reducing blood pressure or helping to maintain healthy levels
- Improving blood circulation, boosting vein, and cardiovascular health
- Working as a diuretic to increase kidney production and function
- Improving digestive health, including easing ulcer pain
- Working as an antibacterial to treat infections
- Preventing cavities and bad breath
Licorice, also know as Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a sometimes ingredient in gin. It adds a sweet flavor to it that’s quite unique. Additionally, it helps to improve the gin’s viscosity. Licorice health benefits may include:
- Reducing stomach and digestion problems
- Improving high blood pressure
- Speeding the healing of canker sores
- Reducing peptic ulcers which can cause kidney complications
Chinese cinnamon, also called cassia bark, is included in some distilled gin. The cinnamon is commonly dried out and then added to the formula in various amounts to create noticeable differences in flavor. The health benefits of cinnamon include:
- Reducing blood sugars
- Antioxidant benefits of removing free radicals from cells
- Reducing inflammation in the body
- Improves the body’s sensitivity to insulin and other hormones
- Works to boost the immune system
Gluten in Gin: Is Gin Gluten-Free?
Gin is a distilled alcoholic beverage, just like vodka. The Celiac Disease Foundation notes that gin, along with other whiskeys, are safe for those who have a gluten intolerance. They do not contain harmful gluten peptides because these are destroyed during the distillation process.
The key concern here is that some people may react even to the very low levels of gluten that may make it through the distillation process. Because the distillation process can vary from one maker to the next, there can be some limitation in removing all gluten. In most cases, enough gluten is removed to make it safe for most people with moderate levels of intolerance to do okay with it.
Gluten-Free Gin Brands
All gin brands, by way of the distillation process, can be considered gluten-free. There are numerous brands that have a high level of distillation which makes them ideal for those with gluten intolerance, such as Hendrick’s, Gordons, and Tanqueray. Some brands, such as Cold River, are made from potatoes, unlike typical gins that are made from wheat or barley. Brands such as Monopolowa and Schramm Organic Gins are also good choices for this.
Carbs in Gin
Is gin a low carb drink? Most of the time, the answer is yes. Gin has no net carbs in it, which makes it an acceptable option for those on the second phase of the Atkins diet. In terms of keto, gin, again, has no net carbs, making it a good option for most people. If you mix gin with other drinks, like a gin and tonic, you could introduce more carbs. Tonic water has about 7.5 carbs in 3 ounces.
If you are on a low carb diet, you can drink gin. Gin on its own is the best overall option. Remember, because gin does not contain sugars in it, it does not have a carb count to worry about for most people. Gin can be an excellent choice for a low carb diet like Atkins or Keto, in any phase of these plans, because it does not contain carbs outright. The key here is to avoid mixing gin with other types of alcohols or ingredients that introduce carbs to the mix. If you do not like the taste of gin outright, you may want to mix it with a bit of lemon juice or even an orange peel. That helps it to maintain its no-carb benefit.
Calories in Gin
So, how many calories are in gin? Gin itself has only 97 calories in a standard shot. And, if you add in any type of other drink mixture, that can change how many calories are present. How many calories are in gin and tonic, for example? That’s about 110 calories. Gin Fizz contains about 140 calories. A gin martini has about 176 calories.
Overall, gin is a low-calorie drink. It is one of the few distilled drinks that can be introduced into a low-calorie diet. However, there are limitations to this when you mix it. Aim for a simple drink, then, without any additions to keep the calories as low as possible.
Sugar in Gin
Gin doesn’t contain sugar in it. However, when you mix gin with other ingredients, that can change this. For example, a gin and tonic may have as much as 18 grams of sugar (depending on the amount). A Gin Smash may include as much as 21 grams of sugar. Another common drink that uses gin is a Tom Collins. It has about 22 grams of sugar in it. If you are considering a better option, consider mixing gin with vodka. This, along with tequila or rum, are good options because they do not contain a high level of sugar within them.
Gin and Diabetes
Gin could be a good drink choice for those who have diabetes. That’s because it is low in carbs and sugars. It’s also low in overall calories – making it one of the best overall options. However, the problem comes when you don’t drink gin by itself. If you mix it with other components, you may be increasing the amount of sugar in it (as noted previously). For someone with diabetes, a gin and tonic contains a high level of sugar, and shouldn’t be considered a safe drink.
If you want to drink gin and have diabetes, keep it simple. Add carbonated water to it or a squeeze of lemon. Both options can be a good choice for diabetics.
Is Gin Good for Arthritis?
Arthritis occurs due to a build up of inflammation in the joints. While this can be normal wear and tear on your joints and a normal component of aging, it’s also important to recognize that it’s possible to support healthy joints. Arthritis can also be an autoimmune disease, in which gin can also be helpful.
What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis occurs when there is damage to the fluid-filled sack that helps to cushion the movements of the joints, to keep from the bones rubbing against each other. Over time, this wears down, often due to inflammation in the area. Gin can also help to support natural health as it works as an antioxidant, therefore helping to remove the free radicals that can cause arthritis or other autoimmune conditions. Arthritis is present at all levels – from very mild forms to very severe and debilitating forms. When you consume gin as early as possible, it may have one of the best abilities to meet your health goals and to prevent the worsening of arthritis as a whole.
Gin Soaked Raisins for Arthritis
Have you heard about gin-soaked raisins for arthritis treatment? It’s believed that if you soak golden raisins in gin for a while, and then eat about 9 to 10 a day, you could see significant improvement. While gin itself cannot cure arthritis, it can help to reduce inflammation. In this way, gin can help arthritis symptoms, improve mobility, and reduce the pain you feel.
Do Gin-Soaked Raisins Really Help Arthritis?
As noted, gin itself can be very helpful in improving your overall health in various ways. The combination of gin and raisins can be an interesting one. While there is no real information about whether the raisins themselves contribute to these benefits, gin-soaked raisins is a long-term believed folktale. Nevertheless, we do know that gin contains a high level of antioxidants and that in itself can be an excellent tool in helping to reduce the presence of inflammation that if not causes, worsens, arthritis.
How Long Does It Take for Gin Soaked Raisins to Work?
Eating 10 raisins a day that have been soaked with gin is a good starting point. Generally, it is thought that if you were to do this consistently, over time you may start to see some improvements. It is not an instant cure, but some people may start to see benefits within a few weeks or sooner.
Keep in mind that drinking a 3.5-ounce glass of gin each day may offer the same benefits. It’s important to know, though, that it’s best to just choose gin (rather than gin and tonic) for this benefit. The added sugars in tonic water can work against your goals here, stimulating more inflammation.
Is gin the right option for you? Take a closer look at the health benefits of gin and what it could do to help add to your wellbeing. If you’re not sure about any aspect of gin and whether or not it is a healthy option for you, be sure to contact your doctor. For some people, gin is not an ideal choice for their diet due to health concerns.