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Is Tequila Good For You? Here’s What Experts Say

Tequila is a popular alcoholic beverage and comes in a variety of flavors. It is native to Jalisco in Mexico and was first produced in the 16th century. The beverage has no added sugars and is believed to be a healthier option than other alcoholic beverages. Consuming it moderately may even promote your skin health and help with weight loss.

In this article, we explore the health benefits of tequila, its nutritional profile, how it is made, and its potential risks. Continue reading.

What Is Tequila?

Tequila is a fermented drink infused with various fruit slices or juices. This beverage is traditionally made from the harvest (pina) of blue agave plants. The drink is distilled, so it has no added sugars. Hence, the glycemic index of tequila is seen as zero (this means that the body digests it slowly).

Tequila made with 100% agave offers many health benefits. What are they and what do experts say? Let us understand more in the following section.

Potential Health Benefits Of Tequila

1. May Promote Skin Health

The agave sap has been used to treat skin conditions for centuries (1). Brenda Peralta, RD, says that tequila may detoxify the skin. It is a natural astringent that helps clean pores (by removing dirt and oil) and tightens the skin.

2. May Promote Weight Loss

Studies suggest that agavins (a natural form of fructose) in tequila may accelerate weight loss (2). Brenda Peralta says tequila has a type of fiber (agavins) that may help promote weight loss. Fiber helps improve satiety and makes you feel fuller for longer. You may also consume fewer calories than your body needs.

Besides, supplementing agavins in mice was found to promote factors that regulate appetite. This may help manage obesity and the associated metabolic disorder (3), (4).

3. Is Suitable For People With Diabetes

Anecdotal evidence suggests that people with type 2 diabetes may drink tequila moderately. Their blood glucose levels may not rise significantly because of the natural sugars present in agave. Agave may also have a positive influence on glucose control (5).

Mary Wirtz, Clinical Registered Dietitian, says tequila does not contain carbohydrates and, therefore, does not have added sugars. As a result, many individuals with diabetes may find it easier to control their blood sugar when enjoying an alcoholic beverage tequila versus a drink like beer, margarita, or sweetened hard beverages (like hard lemonade) that may be high in carbohydrates.

4. May Promote A Healthy Gut

Brenda Peralta, RD, says tequila has prebiotics that may promote a healthy gut. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients (oligosaccharides) that can stimulate the growth and/or activities of probiotics (lactobacilli or bifidobacteria) in the colon (6).

This way, prebiotics modify the microbial balance in the gut and improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract (7). However, more studies are warranted on the potential health benefits of the prebiotics in tequila.

Note: Excess alcohol intake is linked to gastrointestinal diseases. So, moderate intake is advised.

5. May Promote Heart Health

Anecdotal evidence suggests that tequila helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol. This could eventually lead to lower triglyceride levels. The agavins in tequila may play a role here.

However, many studies suggest that alcohol intake is directly linked to heart disease (8). Though these studies do not specify tequila clearly, they indicate the potential negative effects of alcohol intake. Hence, consuming in excess must be avoided.

What nutrients does tequila offer? How much alcohol does it contain? We answer these in the following section. Read on!

Nutrition Information About Tequila

One shot of tequila contains (9):

Alcohol 14g
Calories 97
Water 28g
Protein 0g
Fat 0g
Carbohydrate 0g
Sodium 0.42 mg
Zinc 0.017 mg

Wondering how tequila is made? Listed below are the steps involved in its preparation. Take a look.

Tequila: How It’s Made And Its Types

How Tequila Is Made

  • Harvesting: The agave plant is harvested every 7 to 10 years. A big bulb called pina (or the heart) is grown deep down. The leaves are removed and the bulb is taken out from the ground.
  • Cooking: The pina is baked in ovens until its starch content is converted into sugar. Earlier, pinas used to be baked traditionally in pits.
  • Extraction: The baked pina is crushed using roller mills to extract sugary sap.
  • Fermentation: Water and yeast are added to the extracted juice in big stainless steel tanks to convert the sugars into alcohol.
  • Distillation: The agave syrup undergoes distillation twice. This process purifies the sweet liquid.
  • Aging: The tequila is aged in oak barrels for about two to three months.

Types Of Tequila

  • Tequila Blanco: It is also called silver tequila. It is aged for about sixty days in big stainless steel tanks.
  • Tequila Joven: It is also popular as golden tequila. It has many additives like caramel, glycerin, and syrup, and contains a very small amount of aged tequila.
  • Tequila Reposado: It is aged for about two months in American barrels to get a soft oak flavor, which enriches its taste.
  • Tequila Anejo: It is aged in white French oak barrels for at least a year. This gives a robust spirit and a little oak flavor.
  • Extra Anejo: It is aged for about three years and has a moderate flavor.

Tequila may have certain health benefits. But does that mean you can drink it every day?

Can You Drink Tequila Shots Every Day?

As many researchers suggest, tequila may offer health benefits only if consumed in moderation. However, taking tequila shots every day may not be suitable for all. It may lead to short-term and long-term risks (9).

Brenda Peralta, RD, says, “You can drink a shot of tequila daily to get all the benefits it provides. However, if you start depending on it during the day, I would recommend having it once in a while.”

Tequila can be addictive. Hence, caution is advised.

After all, tequila too contains alcohol and may pose potential risks. Know more in the next section.

Possible Side Effects

1. May Increase The Risk Of Cancer

Alcohol intake may increase the risk of major gastrointestinal cancers, including esophagus, stomach, and colon cancers. The risk worsens with increased alcohol intake coupled with other lifestyle habits like smoking. Besides, alcohol-induced gut inflammation may increase the risk of gastrointestinal cancers, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, and neuroinflammation (10).

2. May Elevate Blood Pressure

Excess tequila intake (more than five standard drinks in a single sitting) may affect blood pressure. The beverage is associated with a transient increase in blood pressure (BP) that ranges from 4 to 7 mmHg for systolic BP and 4 to 6 mmHg for diastolic BP (11). Systolic BP measures the pressure on the walls of arteries when the heart beats while diastolic BP measures the pressure between heartbeats.

3. May Increase Risk Of Depression And Anxiety

Drinking alcohol affects the brain in many ways. Excess alcohol intake may evoke feelings of sadness (depression) during intoxication. This develops into anxiety during the hangover and withdrawal stages. An individual who consumes large quantities of alcohol regularly may develop temporary anxiety and depressive symptoms. These may intensify as the consumption increases (12).

4. May Cause Allergies

Anecdotal evidence suggests that those allergic to agave plants may experience allergies upon tequila intake. These include stinging, itching, swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat, diarrhea, and nausea or vomiting. Occasionally, anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) may also occur.

Alcoholic drinks are not meant for everyone. Even moderate intake may pose health risks for some. Continue reading to know who should not drink tequila.

Who Should Not Drink Tequila?

  • Those habituated to binge drinking
  • Pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • Youngsters
  • Those on long-term medications for certain conditions (as tequila may interact with medications)

The Takeaway

Tequila is an alcoholic drink made from agave plants. It is believed to be a healthier choice than other alcoholic beverages, especially for people with type 2 diabetes. Consuming it moderately may help improve skin health and reduce body weight. The beverage may also promote heart and gut health. However, excess intake can increase cancer risk and high blood pressure. Hence, moderate consumption is advised, if at all you feel the need to consume. Consult your doctor for more information.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is tequila the healthiest liquor?

Tequila may be healthier compared to other types of liquor when made with 100% agave. However, no liquor is 100% healthy.

Does tequila have fructans?

Agave has fructans but tequila does not. The fructans are converted into alcohol during tequila preparation.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Agave americana and Furcraea andina: Key Species to Andean Cultures in Ecuador
    http://www.scielo.org.mx/pdf/bs/v96n2/2007-4476-bs-96-02-00246.pdf
  2. Modulation of Gut Microbiota of Overweight Mice by Agavins and Their Association with Body Weight Loss
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28832493/
  3. Agavins from Agave angustifolia and Agave potatorum affect food intake body weight gain and satiety-related hormones (GLP-1 and ghrelin) in mice
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267760534_Agavins_from_Agave_angustifolia_and_Agave_potatorum_affect_food_intake_body_weight_gain_and_satiety-related_hormones_GLP-1_and_ghrelin_in_mice
  4. Modulation of Gut Microbiota of Overweight Mice by Agavins and Their Association with Body Weight Loss
    https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/9/9/821
  5. Effects of Agave Nectar Versus Sucrose on Weight Gain Adiposity Blood Glucose Insulin and Lipid Responses in Mice
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263817125_Effects_of_Agave_Nectar_Versus_Sucrose_on_Weight_Gain_Adiposity_Blood_Glucose_Insulin_and_Lipid_Responses_in_Mice
  6. Probiotics and prebiotics: can regulating the activities of intestinal bacteria benefit health?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC1115424/
  7. Prebiotics in the gastrointestinal tract
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2006.03042.x
  8. Alcohol-use disorders
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19168210/
  9. Tequila
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1104491/nutrients
  10. Alcohol and Gut-Derived Inflammation
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5513683/
  11. Alcohol’s Effects on the Cardiovascular System
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5513687/
  12. Alcohol Anxiety and Depressive Disorders
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6876499/

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