Feeling a little under the weather? How about pouring a stiff shot of brandy. Originating from the Dutch word brandewijn meaning "burnt wine", brandy has a long history of being consumed as a medicinal ailment. In fact, at one point in time, it was even considered to be the most superior liquor when it came to medicinal use because of the many benefits of brandy. So who are we to argue?
Brandy is made by distilling wine, and typically has 35-60% alcohol by volume. This tasty liquor has a number of variations and can taste different depending on what kind of barrel it was aged in and how long it was aged. Along with being a delectable digestif with many variations, brandy has an important place in history. Back in the 16th century, French brandy was essential in the founding of the cross-Atlantic triangle trade. This newly popular liquor took the place of Portuguese wine because of its higher alcohol content, and was used to pay guards and canoemen.
Since brandy is typically distilled from grapes, the best brandies are often from parts of the world that grow lots of grapes. Because of this, the most famous brandies are Cognac and Armagnac from Southwestern France. For those looking to try the best of this yummy liquor, some of the most popular brandies are Philbert Rare Cask Sherry Finish, Hennessy X.O, and HINE Homage.
In keeping with tradition, we decided to do a little research and dig up the top health benefits of brandy. Pour yourself a snifter and enjoy drinking to your health. Salud!
1. Boosts Immune System
If you feel a cold coming on, maybe double up on the brandy. Brandy, if you weren't aware, is distilled most commonly from fermented grapes - and sometimes other fruit juice. And what do grapes have? Antioxidants. According to Livestrong, a single shot is said to contain as much "antioxidant potential as 90 mg of vitamin C". Perhaps even if you don't have a cold you'll want to give your immune system a boost the good old fashioned way.
2. Boost Heart Health
Looking to improve heart health? Like red wine, brandy may be able to help. Another benefit of those antioxidant compounds brandy contains is they can promote good cholesterol levels. Brandy also contains anti-inflammatory properties which are good for the cardiovascular system. So a little bit of moderation has the ability to improve heart health. The key here being moderation when it comes to drinking brandy.
3. Soothes Sore Throats
If you're experiencing a sore throat then you've got some seriously uncomfortable inflammation. Luckily, you have yet another reason to sip on a bit of brandy. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory polyphenolic compounds and bacteria fighting high alcohol content, your throat can get some much-needed relief. It can also help with other respiratory issues like a cough so keep that in mind next time your under the weather.
4. Used as a Sleeping Aid
For some, developing healthy sleep patterns can be rough. While research shows alcoholic beverages can be disruptive to sleep, it has a relaxing quality. That's why brandy has a history of being used as a sedative to treat insomnia. And if you've ever had insomnia, you know you'd much rather have a shot of brandy to get a little bit of shut-eye than no shut-eye at all.
5. Anti-Aging Properties
Love youthful, invigorating beauty products? Try brandy. I know this sounds crazy because you're highly unlikely to walk into a beauty store and find brandy infused anything, but brandy has been linked to anti-aging. This is because this alcoholic drink contains free-radical fighting powerful organic compounds, aka antioxidants, which can reduce wrinkles. It also improves cognitive issues and other chronic conditions associated with aging.
6. Helps Control Weight
In the world of weight management, there is a constant battle between what works and what doesn't. And while no two people's bodies work the same, brandy has the potential to manage weight. Brandy has no carbs, thus unlike beer, it won't break down into fat you're unlikely to burn off when you enjoy an after-dinner drink.
7. May Help Prevent Cancer
While alcohol may not be the best choice for treating cancer, research suggests drinking brandy can help prevent certain types. Brandy contains ellagic acid, tannins, which contain cancer preventive properties. These properties can help kill cancerous cells to promote the growth of healthy cells. Still, more research is needed to determine how effective brandy can be.
Want more health benefits? Pour, swirl, and savor these 10 Health Benefits of Whiskey.
This article was originally published October 5, 2020.