Drinking sake is a traditional part of Japanese culture, but this beverage also has a number of surprising health benefits.
What is Sake?
Sake is a popular beverage that is made by fermenting the rice. A common staple of Japanese culture, sake is not widely consumed around the world. While wine is made through the fermentation of crushed grapes or other fruits, sake is brewed in a similar way to beer, in which the starch of polished rice grains becomes a sugar and begins to ferment. In terms of alcohol content, Japanese rice wine usually has a concentration of 15% ABV, making it similar to traditional wine. This alcohol also tastes quite like wine and is commonly compared to dry white wine, or light and fruity white wine. The rice used to make sake is not fit to eat, but there are nearly 100 different types of rice throughout Japan that are used to prepare it. Thus there is a wide variety of flavors and styles of this popular beverage.
Due to the fact that sake is made from rice, it has a number of unique nutrients that are not found in most alcohols, including selenium and various amino acids that the body needs. A 100-gram serving of sake contains roughly 135 calories, as well as a small amount of protein and iron.
There are a wealth of health benefits associated with drinking Japanese rice wine on a regular basis, including lowering blood pressure, improving sleep quality, and preventing obesity, among others.
- Improving overall digestive health including gastritis
- Preventing obesity and associated health risks
- Strengthening hair and preventing hair loss
- Lowering the risk of diabetes and helping to manage symptoms for those with this condition
- Slowing the onset of osteoporosis
- Preventing Alzheimer’s disease due to the antioxidants present
- Boosting circulation throughout the body to improve oxygenation
- Aiding in the recovery of liver health, when consumed in moderation
- Regulating cholesterol levels to improve heart health
- Aiding in the treatment of mental illness
- Shielding the skin from premature aging
- Reducing the risk of various cancers
How to Drink?
The consumption of sake is deeply ingrained in Japanese culture, and in many Japanese restaurants, there are certain traditions associated with this beverage, such as drinking it from specific cups and serving it from specific saucers. Depending on the season and the type of sake, it can be served cold, chilled, hot or warm.
How to Make?
The production of sake is quite a challenging and time-intensive process so amateurs rarely attempt to make this beverage. That being said, if you do wish to make your own, the general steps in the process are below.
- Step 1: Wash and steam-cook the polished rice bran.
- Step 2: Mix the rice with yeast and koji, a type of rice that has already been cultivated with a specific mold.
- Step 3: Allow the mixture to begin to ferment, adding rice, yeast, and koji over the next four days.
- Step 4: This fermenting mash will be allowed to sit for 3 to 5 weeks.
- Step 5: Press, filter, and blend the liquid that remains.
Sake Side Effects
There are a few side effects that are specific to this beverage. The side effects of drinking excess Japanese rice wine include the following: