The interesting health benefits of brandy include its ability to slow the signs of aging, control weight, reduce respiratory issues, boost heart health, improve sleep patterns, treat certain types of cancer, and strengthen the immune system.
What is Brandy?
Brandy is a strong alcoholic spirit made from fermented fruit juice or distilled wine. Brandy is derived from wine, yet it is aged in oak barrels, which increases the alcohol content and also gives it the unique color. This form of liquor has typically 30-60% alcohol by volume, which can pack quite a punch when drunk in excess.
The name actually comes from a Dutch word ‘brandewijn’ and is made by further distilling wine to increase the alcoholic content. Other common names of brandy are Applejack, Armagnac, and Cognac. It comes in many varieties, based on different fruits. However, it is usually enjoyed as an after-dinner drink and not as something that one drinks all evening, as some may do with wine or beer at a party.
Brandy Nutrition Facts
An ounce of brandy contains 65 calories, while flavored brandy contains more than 80 calories. Each 1.25 ounce of brandy makes for one drink. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, men should not consume more than two drinks daily and women should limit themselves to one drink a day.
Health Benefits of Brandy
Let’s take a closer look at the important health benefits of brandy when consumed in moderation:
Relieves Respiratory Issues
Traditionally, brandy, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, had been used as an effective means to relieve respiratory issues, such as a cough or a sore throat. The strong alcoholic content helps eliminate bacteria and loosen up phlegm and mucus, thereby acting as an expectorant.
Boosts Immune System
Brandy is popular and delicious liquor a boost to the immune system. For hundreds of years, it has been relied on as a solution for a common cold or flu. Brandy has natural warming properties mixed with relaxing quality that induces healthy sleep. It is also antibacterial in nature.
Brandy has certain soothing, warming, and relaxing qualities that can help induce healthy and restful sleep. Granted, the high alcohol content will also help the system due to its natural depressant qualities, which is why it is often suggested as an after-dinner drink.
Improves Heart Health
When drunk in moderation, the antioxidant potential of brandy can actually reduce the amount of negative cholesterol in the heart. This helps to balance out cholesterol levels and reduce plaque build-up. Furthermore, the polyphenolic compounds in it significantly reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, which eases tension in the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, preventing heart attack and stroke.
Note: However, as with any type of alcohol, drinking an excessive amount can also be bad for the heart, so caution should always be taken when monitoring consumption. A single glass after dinner is recommended as a safe and beneficial amount.
The antioxidant compounds found in brandy help prevent certain types of aging symptoms, including wrinkles on the skin, cognitive issues, poor vision, and other chronic conditions that occur as we age. These compounds are attributed to the presence of copper in the aging barrels, can have a strong effect on the body. Antioxidants help prevent cellular death in the skin, hair, brain, and internal organs, due to dangerous free radicals.
Brandy has been linked to the treating various cancers. The ellagic acid (a powerful organic compound) in it activates a certain gene that inhibits the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells. This is mostly seen in the bladder and ovarian cancer, and although this area of research is new, it may increase brandy’s importance as a healthy liquor choice for people.
Unlike carbohydrate-heavy alcoholic drinks like beer, brandy contains no carbs and doesn’t fill you up. It can also be enjoyed as an aperitif, without ruining your appetite. Moreover, it does not contribute to the simple sugar breakdown of carbs that can easily be stored as fat, such as those found in beer.
Rich Source of Antioxidants
Brandy has same antioxidation potential as 90 mg of vitamin C. The rich reserves of antioxidants in brandy helps in free radical scavenging activity in the body, preventing DNA damage.
Side Effects of Brandy
As mentioned earlier, alcohol of any kind should only be consumed in moderation. Excess intake or addiction can cause various side effects as follows:
- Damage to your liver, kidney, heart, and other organs
- Alcohol addiction which hampers your psychological health and nervous system
- Hypoglycemia, which is a severe drop in the blood sugar levels
Always consume brandy in moderation, but consult your doctor before adding it to your regular diet, particularly if you have experienced liver problems in the past, or if you have a history of addictive behavior.
Note: Avoid use if you are not an adult or are on medication. Also, avoid use during pregnancy and lactation.
You can consume brandy neat or on the rocks. However, it can be used in various ways including cooking, as follows:
- Cocktails: Brandy can be used to make many cocktails such as (add name)
- Flambeed: It is used in various flambéed dessert recipes like flambéed apples, flambéed pears.
- Flavoring: Brandy is used in enhancing the flavor of various baked recipes like cakes and pie fillings.
- Deglazing: It is a common deglazing liquid used in making pan sauces for meats.
How to drink brandy?
Brandy can be consumed in any manner you see fit, but the popular way is to:
- Pour it neat (without ice) into a snifter, which is held in the hand, so the glass can be warmed.
- Let the aroma of the brandy release as this makes for a more enjoyable drink.
- It is a beverage that should be sipped, starting with small sips that gradually grow larger.
- Try to inhale the aroma as you drink it.
Is brandy whiskey?
Brandy is not a type of whiskey but many people may mistake it for whiskey, due to the similar burning sensation of drinking it. It is primarily made from wine and fermented fruit juices, whereas whiskey is a spirit made from types of grains, such as wheat, corn or malted barley. Both may sting your chest on the way down but they are two very different types of alcohol.