Sake and Health: The Surprising Benefits of Drinking Sake
About a decade ago, scientists revealed that a glass of red wine a day may benefit heart health. Yet, wine is not the only alcoholic beverage that can be good for you in moderation.
Sake, one of the most popular Japanese beverages, is a fermented drink with major implications for wellness. Sake health benefits range from having few calories and carbohydrates to containing beneficial minerals and probiotics.
These benefits are science-backed, too. Pre-clinical research studies (i.e., research done in animals) has recently validated anecdotal accounts of the benefits of Japanese sake.
Are you considering becoming a sake drinker? Even if you already love sake, you would benefit from knowing about its potential impacts on your health. Learn about sake and its nutritional value next.
Sake Nutritional Value
A serving of sake is traditionally 4 fluid ounces. Different types of sake have distinct nutritional profiles. But, in general, a single serving of sake contains the following nutritional value:
- Calories: 156
- Total Fat: 0 grams
- Total Cholesterol: 0 grams
- Sodium: 2.3 milligrams
- Total Carbohydrates: 5.8 grams
- Protein: 0.6 grams
- Iron: 0.1 milligrams
- Potassium: 29.1 milligrams
A 4-ounce serving of sake also contains trace amounts of beneficial minerals. These minerals include selenium, zinc, calcium, phosphorous, and copper.
Sake Health Benefits
Sake has been a staple in Japanese culture for centuries. Monks developed the technique to produce Japanese drinks like sake all the way back in the 1300s. Today, sake is Japan’s national beverage of choice.
Also known as rice wine, sake actually has more in common with beer. Sake makers put rice through a fermentation process using yeast and koji, a kind of fungus. This process gives sake antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Learn about sake and the benefits it gets from its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity below.
Sake Contains Probiotics
Many types of sake contain a probiotic called lactobacillus. Probiotics are bacterial strains that naturally populate the human gut. They help with digestion, reduce the risk of certain illnesses, and produce essential vitamins.
Probiotics promote a healthy gut, which can also impact the brain. Researchers have uncovered a connection between the gut and the brain. We may soon learn that sake is just as healthy for the brain as it is for the body.
Sake May Reduce the Risk of Chronic Diseases
Scientists have studied groups of Japanese people, some of whom are regular sake drinkers. These studies have uncovered that people who drink sake may have lower rates of the following chronic diseases:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Drinking sake may reduce the risk of mortality. However, we need more research to know for sure.
Sake May Offer Beautifying Effects
Sake is rich in polysaccharides and amino acids, both of which are components of our skin. The presence of these compounds helps explain why many people report having more moisturized and smoother skin from drinking sake.
Healthy drinks like sake may also improve skin brightness and reduce the appearance of aging. The melanin-inhibiting substances in sake may explain the former benefit, while sake’s antioxidant activity explains the latter.
Sake May Benefit Allergies
Japanese sake contains compounds that may inhibit something called cathepsin B. Cathepsin B is an enzyme that speeds up chemical reactions in the body. It is also thought to be the primary cause of food, dust, and pollen allergies.
Skin allergies like eczema may also benefit from sake consumption. This drink’s moisturizing effects work when you drink it or rub it onto your skin. It should be no wonder many Japanese women use sake as a skin toner.
Sake Can Go Hand-in-Hand With Weight Loss
Compared to other alcoholic Japanese beverages, sake is relatively low in calories and carbohydrates. Additionally, it contains compounds that encourage ketogenesis, which is why sake is the alcohol of choice for many dieters.
Sake is also rich in amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, which are, in turn, the main components of muscles. Building muscle can aid in weight loss, too, because it increases resting metabolism.
How to Get the Most Benefits from Sake
Sake may be one of the most healthy drinks you can find. But drinking low-quality sake or too much sake can reduce its health benefits. Below, we talk about how to get the most out of sake and avoid its risks.
Choose the Right Types of Sake
Not all sake is created equal. Some types are healthier than others. Stick to high-quality Japanese drinks made from water and premium rice with no added alcohol.
If you want to go a step further, choose sake with a fine mill and a slow ferment. Sake that is aged for at least six months offers the chance to get the full benefits from this delicious alcoholic beverage.
Drink in Moderation
Sake health benefits are only present when you drink it in moderation. Moderation looks like up to one serving per day for women and up to two servings per day for men.
Drinking more than a moderate amount each day can actually reverse its healthiest qualities. For example, moderate amounts of sake may reduce cardiovascular disease risk, while overconsumption may increase it.
Learn About Sake at Sake School of America
Sake is one of the healthiest alcohol drinks out there. It offers countless benefits when you drink it in moderation. But first, you must know how to choose the right type of sake.
Do you want to learn about sake health benefits, types of sake, and how to become a sake connoisseur? The Sake School of America in Los Angeles, CA offers in-person and online classes for people like you.
View our upcoming courses today to get educated on Japan’s drink of choice!