Over in Russia, vodka is a well-known and well-loved national beverage. While it’s just as favored for its strength and flavor in the United States, it wasn’t until recently we started to hear about the health benefits of vodka.
Vodka and Russian History
Vodka, believe it or not, did not start its life as a beverage for enjoyment. The term was literally used to describe medications, known as tinctures, made from the elixir. Many of its uses were not internal, but external. In times of war, vodka can be used not only as an antiseptic, but as a mild sedative or diuretic as well. Because it is merely diluted alcohol, vodka has been used as a disinfectant, for both surgical materials and wounds. Imagine having a shot of vodka poured over an open wound because there are no other antiseptic solutions within reach. Ouch!
Vodka has also been used as a method for reducing fevers. Alcohol is often rubbed on the body because it evaporates so quickly. Because vodka was more readily available in Russia, it is often used for the exact same reason.
On the other hand, vodka is often consumed during the cold winter months because, internally, it can make the body warmer. In colder climates, this could certainly be viewed as a perk. Some even believe a shot of vodka will improve a person’s general energy levels, providing nourishment akin to a full meal.
Modern Uses for Vodka
There is not very much research about the use of vodka for health. According to The St. Petersburg Times, consuming small amounts of vodka (we’re talking no more than 30-50 grams, or just 1 – 1.7 ounces per day), can aid in the prevention of atherosclerosis. The problem is that the average drinker will have that amount of vodka in just one drink – and most won’t stop at just one.
Vodka is similar to beer and red wine in that it does contain trace amounts of vitamin B and several other minerals. Unfortunately, these levels are much smaller than what you’ll find in most other alcoholic beverages.
The Pros and Cons of Vodka
While there is no doubt that careful consumption of vodka may have some modern health benefits, those aiming to get health benefits can only drink the aforementioned amount in order to see any difference. The abuse of vodka may lead to liver disease, high estrogen levels, nervous system damage, and other disorders.
Enjoy your shot of vodka now and then. It certainly won’t hurt you. Just make sure you’re enjoying your Russian favorite in moderation!
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