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 an alcoholic beverage that has been around in some form or another for centuries. The name actually comes from a Dutch word “brandewijn” and is made by further distilling wine to increase the alcoholic content. The distillation of wine has been occurring since classical times, but it was not widely understood or propagated until the 15th century. This form of liquor has typically 30-60% alcohol by volume, which can pack quite a punch when drunk in excess. 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 is derived from wine, yet it is aged in oak barrels, which increases the alcohol content and also gives it the unique color. Many people think of alcoholic beverages as inherent vices, something that is very enjoyable but can also punish you with a hangover, empty wallet, diseased liver, and an addiction. As is said of anything from sugar to red wine – everything in moderation!
Brandy is much the same, and while it does fall into the category of “hard alcohol”, it is produced in a unique way, is composed of interesting substances, and therefore, offers different benefits and effects, as compared to other types of alcohol. Many people assume that alcohol only harms health, so it is important to do your due diligence and see how there’s nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two from time to time, particularly if it’s as beneficial as brandy!
Health Benefits of Brandy
Brandy gives some of the same benefits as wine, although most people are unaware of them. Let’s take a closer look at the important health benefits of this beverage.
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
For hundreds of years, it has been relied on as a traditional solution for a common cold or flu. The natural warming properties of brandy, mixed with its relaxing quality that induces healthy sleep and the antibacterial nature of alcohol, all make this popular and delicious liquor a boost for the immune system.
When it comes to alcohol helping you sleep, most people think of drinking too much alcohol and dozing off; however, brandy also 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 one of the reasons that it is often suggested as an after-dinner drink, in preparation for sleep.
Improves Heart Health
When drunk in moderation, a research has shown that brandy contains a wide range of beneficial antioxidants, much like wine from which it is derived. This antioxidant potential can actually reduce the amount of negative cholesterol in the heart, helping to balance out cholesterol levels and reducing plaque build-up. Preventing atherosclerosis is one of the best ways to avoid the potentially disastrous effects of heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, the polyphenolic compounds in it significantly reduce inflammation in the cardiovascular system, which eases tension in the blood vessels and lowers blood pressure.
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, some of which are attributed to the presence of copper in the aging barrels, can have a strong effect on the body. Antioxidants are organic compounds and substances that eliminate free radicals in our body or neutralize their effects. Free radicals are the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause our body’s healthy cells to mutate or undergo apoptosis (cell death). Antioxidants help prevent this type of cellular death in the skin, hair, brain, and internal organs, among many others. Therefore, it has been shown to effectively prevent certain types of aging symptoms, including wrinkles on the skin, cognitive issues, poor vision, and other chronic conditions that occur as we age.
Although there are certain cancers that are exacerbated by excessive liquor consumption, brandy has been connected to their treatment or prevention. One of its essential components is ellagic acid, which is a powerful organic compound that can prevent the development and spread 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. It also prevents cancer as the ellagic acid in it activates a certain gene that inhibits the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells.
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.
Word of Caution: As mentioned earlier, alcohol of any kind should only be consumed in moderation, as it can contribute to serious damage to your liver and other organs, as well as your psychological health, as alcohol consumption can easily lead to addiction. 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. Furthermore, if you are suffering from alcohol addiction or think you need help in overcoming it, speak to your friends or family members who can get you the help you need.
FAQs about Brandy
What is brandy?
Brandy is a strong alcoholic spirit made from fermented fruit juice or wine. Although not as popular as it once was, brandy remains a choice for those looking for high-quality alcohol. Other common names of brandy are applejack and cognac. It comes in many varieties, based on different fruits, and is available in different price ranges. Typically, it is considered an after-dinner drink.
How to take 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. This will release the aroma of the brandy and makes for a more enjoyable drink. It is a beverage that should be sipped, starting with small sips that gradually grow larger. You should also try to inhale the aroma as you drink it. Cocktails are also an option, but only with less expensive brandy.
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 to be classified as whiskey, the spirit must be made from a type of grain, 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.
Where does Brandy come from?
It was first made in Europe, and the term brandy comes from a Dutch word “brandewijn”, but based on where brandy is made, it has various names and qualities. For example, the brandy made in a specific region of France can be considered a true “cognac”.
What kind of alcohol is brandy?
Considering that brandy is itself a type of alcohol, it belongs to a class all on its own. Spirits that are distilled from wine or fermented fruit juices belong to the category of “brandy”, but the variations within this alcohol type are immense. From cognac and grappa to slivovitz and Armagnac, you could spend your whole life trying to sample every type of brandy in the world. It stands apart and is considered by some to be the most elegant and delicious form of alcohol.