Health benefits of vodka include better cardiovascular health, reduction in stress, and relief from toothaches and bad breath. Its astringent nature helps in keeping the skin healthy and promotes hair growth. It also possesses antiseptic and antibacterial qualities, which help in disinfecting the wounds and it also works as an effective cleaning agent.
What is Vodka?
It is a popular beverage which is generally composed of ethanol and water. It is a trendy drink which often scores quite well in the bar menu presented in restaurants, parties or small gatherings. The versatility of colorless, flavorless vodka, which merges seamlessly well with other drinks without disturbing or neutralizing the flavor of the additional ingredients, makes it one of the preferred choices amongst alcoholic beverages.
It is used in the preparation of a variety of popular cocktails such as vodka martini, vodka tonic, and Bloody Mary. The name ‘vodka’ evolved from ‘voda’, a Slavic word which literally means ‘water’. It is generally produced by the distillation of any plant matter rich in starch or sugar including various grains such as corn, rye, wheat, and other materials like potatoes, grapes, and soybeans.
Traditional preparation of vodka usually aimed at maintaining an alcoholic value of 40% by volume. At present, the alcoholic content in it produced in different countries varies depending upon the standards set by them. European vodkas maintain a minimum alcoholic content of 37.5%; while all the vodkas sold in the United States maintain a standard of minimum 30% alcohol by volume.
Vodka from other countries such as Russia, Ukraine, and Poland still has 40% alcohol content by volume. Other than alcoholic content, it can also be segregated into two main groups, .i.e. flavored and clear. Flavorings which are added to it include ginger, cinnamon, lemon, red pepper, vanilla, some special herbs, fruits, and spices and the preference widely varies in different parts of the world.
Origin of Vodka
Historical origination of vodka still remains a topic of discussion and debates attributing to the lack of enough evidence available regarding its instigation. Some sources advocate the initial production of vodka to have occurred in Russia around the 9th century while others say that it may have happened in Poland around the 8th century. For a number of centuries, this drink was present quite differently from what it is today. During earlier times, the spirit was originally used as a medication and was quite different with respect to its aroma, appearance, and flavor present today. The alcohol content present in the spirit was just 14% which is the maximum amount that can be managed using natural fermentation process.
Apart from being a hangout drink, the medicinal relation of vodka which existed in the early years of its existence has also been appreciated by the modern world and is used as a medicinal remedy attributing to its positive effects in a range of health conditions. In the recent decades, scientific research has supported the affirmative effects of consuming a moderate amount of it on the human metabolism.
Vodka Nutrition Facts
It is a carbohydrate and sugar-free drink which provides very few calories when consumed neat or without any fat-based mixers. It offers no harmful cholesterol or fats.
Health Benefits of Vodka
Vodka is appreciated for its exclusive therapeutic value, both as a consumable medication as well as an external lotion which can be topically applied to the body. Health benefits of vodka which can contribute fruitfully in a range of conditions have been discussed as under:
Among a range of alcoholic drinks present on the bar table, vodka may have better relaxation effect on an individual. As supported by scientific findings, it helps in decreasing the stress factor in the body more efficiently than other boozy drinks such as red wine. It has sleep-inducing properties and has a calming effect on the brain as well.
Vodka has been quite famously used in Russian folklore for curing practically all ailments ranging from just a mild headache to a condition of a common cold to a bad hangover. It is also used to make tinctures in the world of herbal medicines to be consumed orally or used topically as an anesthetic. Tinctures are usually prepared by soaking the preferred kind of leaves, flowers, and stem in vodka, which extracts the essential oils rich in healing qualities without asserting the flavor of the herbs. Freezing a plastic bag filled with vodka and applying it as an ice pack on aches helps in numbing the pain.
Swishing a little amount of vodka, maybe just a shot around an aching tooth may prove useful. Letting some of the vodkas get absorbed in the gums may help in reducing pain in the infected area. When mixed with cinnamon in specific quantities it works as an effective mouthwash and cures bad breath.
Protects Cardiovascular Health
Another benefit of drinking vodka is its protective effect against heart diseases. It has a dilating effect on the arteries which stimulates free flow of blood. Unobstructed flow of blood to the heart components prevents the development of major illnesses such as stroke and cardiac arrest. It also aids in promoting the amount of HDL cholesterol in the body.
Skin Care & Hair Care
Vodka may come to your service as a beauty aid. It works wonderfully well on the skin and helps cleanse the pores and tighten them attributing to its astringent properties. It has been found quite useful in a variety of botanical beauty products such as cleansers, toners, and anti-acne products. It promotes healthy hair growth by cleansing the scalp and eliminating toxins from the hair. It also helps in treating the problem of dandruff and is used in the preparation of hair stimulating tonics and conditioners.
Vodka has antiseptic qualities which help in preventing the development of infections like an animal bite. Alcohol content present in it helps in sterilizing the wound. Colorless, flavorless vodka is useful as an extractive solvent and is used by the herbalists to make alcohol-based ointments. Such salves vaporize readily leaving behind only the curative properties of the specific herbs used. Avoid using vodka based liniments on dry, burnt or sensitive skin unless mentioned in the instructions.
Apart from these, it helps cure cold sores and helps disinfect the exposed dermis in an open blister. Vodka also helps in bringing down fever when rubbed on the back and chest area. It helps in treating the problem of malodorous feet and helps disinfect them. Vodka has diuretic properties which promote urination and easy flushing of toxins out of the body. Moderate amounts of vodka can prove to be a sensible choice while following a low-carb diet or weight-loss regime. It offers a low amount of calories with absolutely no carbohydrate content as against other alcoholic drinks like ‘beer’, which is high in carbohydrates. The idea is to drink it neat, on the rocks or mixing with something without many calories.
Vodka comes to the rescue when your pie crust turns cakey. The spirit in vodka averts the dough from making excess gluten. It helps in making the dough moist and makes it perfect for a flaky crust recipe. After all this good work, the humble vodka silently evaporates during the baking process without leaving any hint of its presence.
Other Uses of Vodka
Cleaning Agent: Vodka works as an excellent cleanser. The alcohol in vodka helps in cleaning the caulking around the showers and bathtubs by killing the mildew and mold. It cleans the eyeglasses and also extends the life of razor blades which are soaked in vodka post shaving. Basically, it kills the germs and averts rusting.
Easy Dry Cleaning: Sprays made from vodka helps in neutralizing the absorbed scents from the clothes.
How much vodka is considered moderate?
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has pronounced moderation as 3-4 drinks in a day with not more than 14 drinks a week for men and 2-3 drinks in the day for women limiting to seven drinks in a week.
Vodka: Word of Caution
Although vodka may contribute to the above-mentioned health benefits, excess consumption of alcohol in any form enhances the risk of major diseases associated with multiple organs such as brain, liver, and pancreas. It can interfere with the healthy functioning of the immune system, elevate blood pressure, may lead to stickiness in the platelets or narrowing of arteries resulting in obstruction in the passage of blood implicated in cardiovascular diseases. Excessive intake of vodka may lead to faster heartbeat attributing to its stimulatory effect on the adrenaline hormone. This can also lead to intake of excess air in the lungs and stimulation of liver to secrete more glucose in the blood. Over-production of adrenaline hormone in the body may cause excessive tiredness and general body fatigue.
Alcohol intake during pregnancy may result in fetal alcohol syndrome, a mental impairment in the babies caused due to its excessive consumption.
Certain medications which are used for treating diabetes, digestive problems and heart diseases may also interact with vodka. It may increase the risk of side effects or reduce the effectiveness of the medication. It is always advised to consult a doctor and read the instructions carefully while taking such drugs. Drinking before driving may hamper alertness and increase the risk of accidents. People who are not able to handle or react with nausea, vomiting or any other symptoms even after a small drink should refrain from drinking alcohol at all.
Moderate consumption of alcohol forms the basis for all the scientific studies that advocate the effectiveness of vodka in various health conditions. However, medical consent is always advisable before considering vodka for therapeutic relief. Normally, people mix vodka with high sugary juices which may accentuate the calorie count of the drink and nullify the low-calorie attribute. Vodka by itself is a clear drink with fewer additives as compared to other darker alcoholic beverages. On the whole, a prudent peg of vodka can provide substantial health-related benefits and makes a perfect guilt-free drink to enjoy.
Moderation is the key to health with vodka!
How to make vodka?
Vodka is a neutral spirit that can be produced from corn, barley, potatoes, fruit, and anything else that has sugars or starches. Depending on your mash ingredients, you may need other enzymes to get the process going. You must then add yeast to the fermented medium, separate the fermented liquid, and then finish the process by distillation.
What to mix with vodka?
Vodka is one of the most popular spirits in the world because of its versatility in cocktails. Some of the most famous cocktails in the world mix vodka with orange juice (screwdriver), tomato juice (Bloody Mary), or vermouth (martinis). You can essentially mix vodka with any other liquid, from sweet fruit juices and sodas to creamy liqueurs, milk, tonic water and regular water. The only limitation is your imagination!
Which is the best vodka?
Labeling any vodka as the “best” is difficult since the preference is often subjective. However, some of the most popular vodkas in the world are Grey Goose, Svedka, Stolichnaya, Zubrowka, Ciroc, Finlandia, Skyy Vodka, Effen, Belvedere, and Ketel One. Some people may also prefer potato vodka or grain vodka over fruit-based vodkas, so again, naming one brand as the “best” is simply too difficult. Try them all and see what your taste buds like!
What drinks can you make with vodka?
You can make thousands of drinks with vodka, including screwdriver (orange juice and vodka), Bloody Mary (tomato juice and vodka), martini (vermouth and vodka), White Russian (vodka, milk and Kahlua), as well as Moscow Mule, Long Island Ice Tea, Vodka Tonic, Kamikaze, Sex on the Beach and many more! Vodka is extremely versatile and is one of the easiest spirits to be found anywhere in the world.