Why Is Tequila Good For You
Agave contains agavins that may provide sweetness and nutrition without impacting blood sugar levels. This is because the body cannot absorb them. A 2014 study found that agavins help reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin levels, which regulates blood sugar levels.
When you think tequila, chances are your thoughts turn to drinking — not so much its health benefits. But this Mexican spirit has been making waves in recent years for more than just being a shot of firewater.
The agave plant from which tequila is made is native to Mexico’s high-altitude Baja peninsula region. It was first used by the Tohono O’odham Native American tribe as an important food source, with some believing it could heal skin rashes and burns. The Spanish conquistadores took notice of how useful the agave plant was for food, drink and medicine, and eventually brought it back home where it became integral to their culture.
Today, there are over 200 varieties of agave plants; all of which produce different types of tequila. Agaves are perennials (they grow every year) and can live up to 100 years or even longer. They’re also slow growing, taking two to five years to reach maturity. Agaves need lots of water and light during the day but don’t require any fertilizers. And they don’t have seeds, so they can’t be grown from seed.
While most agaves are tall, some are short and usually only reach knee height. These smaller agaves are often used to make sweeteners such as molasses, honey and syrup. Others are harvested once they’ve flowered. Some are cut off at ground level while others are left standing and allowed to continue growing until harvest time. After harvesting, the sugars in the agave are extracted using hot water or steam.
Agave isn’t actually a true vegetable since it doesn’t contain cellulose. Instead, it’s a form of carbohydrate called a polysaccharide, meaning it consists of many small sacs containing simple sugars linked together. Agaves contain three main types of sugars: glucose, fructose and sucrose, plus galacturonic acid, mannitol and maltose. Agave nectar is 50 percent fructose.
Not only does agave have a higher concentration of fructose compared to other fruits, vegetables and grains, research suggests it may play a role in reducing our risk for obesity and diabetes. It’s also rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and phenols. Agave is 90 percent fiber, too.
Here are several reasons why tequila might be good for you:
Agave Contains Agavins That May Provide Sweetness And Nutrition Without Impacting Blood Sugar Levels. This is Because The Body Cannot Absorb Them. A 2014 Study Found That Agavins Help Reduce Blood Sugar Levelss And Improve Insulin Levels, Which Regulates Blood Sugar Levels.
Tequila May Contain Antioxidants. Although agave contains less vitamin C than citrus fruit, it still offers significant amounts of vitamin E and carotenoid compounds. In fact, tequila typically has twice the amount of vitamin E compared to orange juice. However, when taken in moderation, these nutrients won’t interfere with blood sugar regulation.
It Has Potent Anti-inflammatory Properties. As mentioned earlier, agave contains antioxidants, including anthocyanin pigments. Anthocyanins prevent free radicals from damaging cells and DNA. When consumed regularly, anthocyanin-rich foods may help protect against heart disease, cancer, age-related macular degeneration and other chronic diseases. Studies show that people who drank moderate amounts of red wine had lower rates of mortality than non-drinkers. One reason could be anthocyanins, which may help regulate inflammation. Other studies suggest agave has similar effects on the immune system.
Agave May Lower Cholesterol Levels. Research shows that agave consumption lowers total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels. Unlike refined carbohydrates, agave is naturally low glycemic, which means it takes longer for its sugars to enter the bloodstream. On the other hand, soluble fibers found in agave work to bind fats and cholesterol within the digestive tract, preventing absorption into the bloodstream.
Agave May Have Beneficial Effects On Brain Health Due To Its Rich Content Of L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and agave. Since L-theanine helps control anxiety and depression, researchers believe it may do the same thing in people who consume alcohol daily. While more research needs to be done on agave specifically, those who drink tequila may benefit from eating dark chocolate after drinking due to l-theanine content.
Agave May Be Better Than Honey At Fighting Yeast Infections. According to one 2010 study, agave works better than conventional antifungal treatments in fighting yeast infections. Another study showed that patients with dry mouth experienced fewer side effects from antibiotics if they were given antibacterial mouthwash with agave instead of traditional mouthwashes.
Sipping tequila rather than downing shots can increase its nutritional value. If you enjoy the taste of tequila, try adding it to recipes, especially marinades, salad dressings and dips. Or save yourself money by buying whole bottles of tequila and storing it in the freezer. Then simply take out what you need to use each week. Just remember to store it properly and keep it away from heat sources. Also, never mix tequila with soda or another liquor. Doing so will cause harmful bacteria to develop. Finally, always serve tequila responsibly. Enjoy responsibly!
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