Over the last couple of years, there has been a trend in the global health community to turn to the Japanese for tips and tricks on how to live a healthier life. Understandably so, considering how Japan is known for having one of the longest life expectancies in the world! Japanese matcha has become a cult green tea prized for energy-boosting nutritional benefits – without the coffee-induced caffeine crash. And people are raving about fermented Japanese foods like miso and kombucha as being vital for our gut health.
So then, what about sake? After all, it is Japan’s national alcoholic drink, consumed for almost 2,000 years.
Can sake be one of Japan’s longevity secrets?
Luckily for us, the answer to this question is a big YES. Sake is not just delicious or trendy but so much more! Here, we explore the 3 most notable health benefits of drinking sake.
1. Sake Boosts Your Immune System
As discussed in our Sake 101, sake is purely made from natural ingredients. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals and gut-friendly bacteria crucial for our wellbeing. Sake also has a lot of amino acids (seven times more than wine!) which not only lead to sake’s delicious umami flavour but does wonders for our health too.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. When speaking of our immune system, proteins play a big role as they are necessary for not only helping to prevent the cold and flu but in decreasing their duration as well.
Given how our bodies do not naturally produce all of the essential amino acids needed to build a robust immune system, we must look for external assistance. While protein supplements or the foods you choose to eat can obviously be your go-to’s, why not appreciate Japanese craftsmanship while you’re at it by getting your fix of essential amino acids through sake?
2. Sake Combats High Blood Pressure
Peptides are comprised of two or more amino acids that are linked to each other. They are great for our body in that they burn fat, build muscle, and lower high blood pressure! Specifically, sake has 9 types of peptides that inhibit the enzymes which, if activated in excess, cause high blood pressure. Peptides have also been found to inhibit PEP – the main culprit of Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Sake is a Beauty Elixir
Have you ever walked into the beauty department or a drug store when in Japan? If so, you might have been surprised by the number of face masks, hand lotions and cosmetic products that are made from sake and sake lees.
This is because of sake’s moisturizing and skin whitening effects. Sake’s moisturizing elements include glycerol, saccharides and amino acids, often used in beauty products. And in addition to the prevention of rough skin, koji (one of the main ingredients in sake) inhibits the performance of melanin, which is the main culprit of sunspots, age spots, and freckles.
With all this being said, please do keep in mind the golden rule of appreciating everything in moderation! It is amazing that sake has all of these health benefits. But as with any other types of alcohol, heavy drinking will reverse any of these upsides.
And on that note, kanpai to your health!