Is it true that drinking an alcoholic drink like gin can be good for your health? It turns out that Gin has many health benefits and was even used in the past in combination with quinine to help prevent malaria. In spite of controversy about the benefits of any type of alcoholic drink, the facts are that gin contains many healthy botanicals (substances obtained from plants), contains a low number of calories, contains no sugar and so is beneficial in diabetes and has benefits for many health conditions including arthritis. Read on in this article to learn the facts about the health benefits of gin.
Is Gin Good for Your Health?
There are 2 schools of thought with regard to the health benefits of alcoholic drinks. According to the Mayo Clinic, light to moderate daily alcohol intake can have beneficial health benefits. These benefits include a decreased risk of developing or dying of heart disease and a decreased risk of having an ischemic stroke (a CVA or cerebrovascular accident due to decreased blood flow in the arteries in the brain). The other school of thought is that drinking alcoholic drinks increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and liver diseases like cirrhosis.
Gin is usually 37.5% ABV (Alcohol by Volume) but there is a range of alcohol volume in gin drinks. For example, a classic gin martini contains 2 ½ ounces of gin and ½ ounce dry vermouth. The gin is usually 80 proof and the vermouth is usually 15% ABV and so the combination of both gin and dry vermouth in a classic gin martini is 31% ABV or 62 proof. Another example of a gin drink is a classic gin and tonic which contains 2 ounces of gin and 4 to 5 ounces of tonic water. The combination of 80 proof gin and 5 ounces of tonic water has an ABV rating of 10% which is equivalent to being 20 proof.
Health Benefits of Gin Botanicals
The botanicals in gin provide many health benefits. Gin Botanicals refer to plant-based derivatives which are natural flavors which are added to distilled gin and which have many health benefits. Gin botanicals can act as a digestive aid and also help flush out toxins. They also act as a diuretic to flush out excess water and help to keep the skin healthy. In addition, gin botanicals help promote weight loss, increase metabolic rate and act as antioxidants.
Juniper berries are the major ingredient used to add traditional flavor to gin. Juniper berries contain bioflavonoids which act as antioxidants and also act as natural anti-bacterial and antifungal agents. They also have natural anti-inflammatory properties, improve skin quality and help to heal rashes including eczema. Juniper berries also help to aid digestion, act as a natural diuretic and decrease bloating. Juniper berries also have been found to lower high blood sugars in diabetics. [SOURCE]
Angelica root is usually the 3rd major component in gin after Juniper berries and Coriander seeds. Historically, the root and seeds of the Angelica root are used to give gin its earthy flavor. Some well-known medicinal effects of Angelica Root include helping the symptoms of heartburn and flatulence and being of benefit in those with arthritis. Angelica Root has been found to help prevent strokes and circulation problems and dementia. It can also help in anxiety problems and is useful in those with problems with stress and anxiety.
Coriander (Chinese Parsley)
Coriander seed which is also known as Chinese Parsley is the second most used botanical in gin after juniper berries. Coriander provides a citrus-like, nutty and slightly spicy flavor to gin. Coriander’s stem and leaves are also known as cilantro. Coriander has many well-known health benefits such as decreasing skin inflammation and increased urination in those with kidney malfunctions. It is a general anti-inflammatory and also decreases total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and it helps to decrease high blood pressure.
Orris root is used in smaller amounts as a minor flavor in gin. It provides an earthy and dusty sweetness similar in taste to Angelica. Orris root is the root of the iris flower that is usually dried for at least 5 years and then ground into a fine powder. Beneficial medicinal effects of Orris Root include helping the functioning of the nervous system, purifying the skin and improving hair health.
The peels and zest of lemons are another key component of gin botanicals and provide a fresh, citrus-like zesty flavor in gin. Lemons are citrus fruits containing flavonoids which are antioxidants which help prevent cancer. In addition to Vitamin C, lemons also contain B vitamins, Potassium, Zinc and Magnesium and so is an important supplement to help heart health, prevent kidney stones and stop internal bleeding.
Bitter oranges which are also known as “Seville oranges” are the ones used as botanicals in the production of gin. Commonly, the peel of the orange is used in gin production after it is first dried. The oils in the orange skin provide a bitter or sometimes sweet flavor to the gin that is distilled. Oranges contain high levels of Vitamin C which is a potent antioxidant which protects cells from damage by free radicals and so it is important for cancer prevention. Oranges contain flavones which help to decrease chronic diseases and decrease the risk of cancer and of cardiovascular diseases.
Cardamom is a spice that is similar in derivation to ginger. Cardamom has a spicy but sweet flavor. It mixes very well with juniper berries and coriander. Cardamom helps to decrease blood pressure and increases blood circulation.
Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Licorice provides a sweet taste to distilled gin and helps to increase its viscosity. The health benefits of licorice include helping the healing of canker sores and helping with stomach problems. Liquorice can also help with respiratory ailments and with peptic ulcers and is useful in helping to heal kidney problems.
Chinese cinnamon (cassia bark)
Chinese cinnamon is similar to traditional cinnamon and is dried before it is added to distilled gin. Chinese cinnamon has a licorice type of taste and is sweeter than normal cinnamon. It has been found useful in the control of blood sugar in diabetics. Cassia Bark has also been found to have many other health benefits including antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory activity
Gluten in Gin: Is Gin Gluten Free?
There is considerable controversy over whether gin is safe to use for those on gluten-free diets. According to the Celiac Support Group, gin brands like Tanqueray, Gordon’s and Hendrick’s are not gluten-free and should not be used by those requiring a gluten-free diet as gin is made from barley, wheat or rye grains which all contain the protein gluten. The NIH has an opposing view that since gin is distilled, enough gluten is removed to make it safe for those on a gluten-free diet.
Gluten-free Gin brands
There are several gluten-free gins that are available. Cold River gin is made from the distillation of potatoes rather than grains like wheat, barley or rye and so is gluten-free. G-vine gin is distilled from grapes and is gluten-free as are Monopolowa and Schramm Organic Gins which are distilled from potatoes.
Carbs in gin
Gin has zero net carbs [SOURCE] and so is allowed in phase 2 of the Atkins diet.
Calories in Gin
Gin is one of the lowest caloric alcohols containing only 97 calories per shot.
Sugar in gin
Gin by itself contains no sugar.
Gin and Diabetes
Those patients with diabetes should drink all alcoholic beverages including gin in moderation. Diabetics should not drink more than 2 alcoholic drinks per day. They should only drink gin with food and should avoid any sugary mixed drinks. Gin should ideally be mixed with water, club soda or diet soft drinks instead of with tonic water.
Is Gin good for arthritis?
Gin has anti-inflammatory properties and has been found useful in helping those with arthritis.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is the damage done to joints either from the normal “wear and tear” of aging or due to autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Using Gin soaked raisins for arthritis
Soaking golden raisins in gin and then eating 9 raisins per day has been found to be beneficial in decreasing the pain and immobility in those with arthritis.
Gin is an alcoholic drink that when used in moderation has significant health benefits. This moderate and responsible use of alcohol can lead to beneficial health results such as decreasing the development of and subsequent death from cardiovascular disease and decreasing the risk of ischemic strokes from decreased blood flow to the arteries of the brain. In addition, the botanicals contained in gin help in digestion, flush out toxins, act as a diuretic to remove excess fluids from the kidneys, keep the skin healthy and provide antioxidants that help lower the risk of developing cancer. Juniper berries which are the main botanicals in gin contain numerous additional health benefits including being anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, improving heart function, lowering blood pressure and lowering blood sugar levels in diabetics.
Please Note: This medical information is not advice and should not be treated as such, you must not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. Drink Responsibly!