Let's Talk About You

The news can be scary...

Everywhere you turn this week, you're hearing about war in Ukraine. And that's a terrible situation – but its direct effect will be limited for most of our readers.

Today, we're going to talk about you: your health, and what questions you've been asking about it.

Q: Is whiskey as good as wine? – H.M.

A: Whiskey contains the same polyphenol antioxidants we've talked about in wine. These beneficial little compounds make their way into the whiskey during the aging process – they actually seep out of the oak barrels that the whiskey (and red wine) is housed and aged in.

Polyphenols are a type of vasodilator, which means they decrease the risk of coronary heart disease by opening up blood vessels. That's why a small glass of whiskey helps modulate blood pressure and allows your heart to not work so hard. A 2014 study found that whiskey also reduces uric acid levels in the body, a leading cause of gout.

But whiskey's health benefits are nothing new... It was even allowed during Prohibition because it was regarded as a medicine.

Keep in mind that whiskey isn't exactly like beer or wine. Alcohol acts as a diuretic (it makes your kidneys excrete fluid faster than normal) – and since the alcohol is more concentrated in whiskey than in beer or wine, it doesn't have enough liquid to rehydrate you. That's why it's important to remember to follow your whiskey with a tall chaser of water, like I do after my evening glass of Knob Creek Rye Whiskey.

Q: Are there any benefits to the human body for taking a daily amount of apple cider vinegar? If so, how much? Thanks. – B.B.

A: We've touched briefly on apple cider vinegar in the past regarding its use for heartburn. Sometimes, reflux stems from insufficient stomach acid. Because apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, it can help increase your stomach's acid levels. But some reflux is caused by too much acid rather than too little. In that case, apple cider vinegar would worsen the situation instead.

Lots of folks have also asked us about using apple cider to control blood sugar levels. A few small studies suggest that in its liquid form (not pill form), it may help with blood sugar levels. The results did show that after eating or upon waking, folks had lower spikes in blood sugar.

If you're already on medication for heartburn or blood sugar control, check with your doctor before adding apple cider vinegar to your diet. And remember, there are other lifestyle changes that work even better. These include exercising for blood sugar regulation and cutting out foods that trigger heartburn.

Q: Are there any health benefits to bell peppers? I can't handle the spicy stuff. – C.P.

A: Bell peppers are a great choice for a healthy diet. Their benefits include an antioxidant called violaxanthin, which is responsible for giving some bell peppers their yellowish hue… and the antioxidant capsanthin, which makes other peppers red. Violaxanthin protects plants from light damage, and capsanthin helps protect us against tumors. Both also likely contribute to keeping our eyes healthy.

Peppers are also a good source of vitamin C – a water-soluble antioxidant that helps your body form blood vessels, cartilage, muscles, and collagen in your bones. It’s critical in wound healing and is also important for healthy vision.

Keep sending us your questions, comments, and suggestions. We read every e-mail... [email protected].

What We're Reading...

Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,

Dr. David Eifrig and the Health & Wealth Bulletin Research Team
February 25, 2022