Tequila: Are There Health Benefits?

Mexico's pride and joy, and a tart and tangy margarita cocktail’s main ingredient, tequila is a distilled spirit made from the blue agave. This succulent plant grows primarily in the area around the town of Tequila in the western state of Jalisco, and in the Jalisco Highlands. 

The tequila designation is protected, applied only to a spirit made from blue agave and produced in certain areas appointed by the Mexican government. Other spirits made from agave are known as mezcal.

Many internet articles link tequila with agave’s health benefits, but the plant loses its healthful properties during the fermenting process. Tequila offers no proven benefits related to:

  • Bone density
  • Blood sugar
  • Colon health

Enjoying tequila offers the same benefits and risks as the moderate consumption of any kind of alcohol. But it may serve as a lower-calorie alternative to other spirits.

Nutrition Information

One fluid ounce of tequila (80 proof) contains: 

  • Calories: 64
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams

Tequila has less sugar and calories than similar liquors, which may make it a slightly healthier option if you drink. But when mixing it with other ingredients, be careful to account for the whole drink’s nutrition and not just the tequila measure. Cocktails can be very high in sugar and may contain other alcohols as well.

Potential Health Benefits of Tequila

Drinking alcohol in moderation may provide health benefits. For women, moderate consumption is about one drink a day. Men can have up to two drinks. This recommendation refers to the alcohol intake of any single day, not to an average across several days. 

Light to moderate alcohol use may reduce your risk of the following:

However, more studies are needed to confirm the relationship between moderate drinking and these benefits.

Potential Risks of Tequila

Even the moderate consumption of alcohol is not free from risks, such as when: 

  • Driving
  • Drinking when under the legal drinking age
  • Depressed
  • You are unable to control the amount you drink
  • You’re pregnant or trying to conceive

If you drink alcohol when pregnant, it passes through the umbilical cord to the baby, increasing the risk of stillbirth or miscarriage. In addition, drinking while pregnant may result in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Children with FASDs may show a range of physical, behavioral, and cognitive symptoms.

Continued

Medication Interactions

Many medications react harmfully with alcohol. Alcohol may make certain medications ineffective or toxic. The combination may also make you nauseous, drowsy, or uncoordinated. It may even put you at risk of respiratory problems, internal bleeding, or heart problems.

Pay attention to medication labels and to instructions given by your doctor or pharmacist. If you’re concerned about potential interaction with alcohol, don’t be afraid to ask.

Excessive Drinking

Moderate drinking can easily lead to excessive drinking, which increases the likelihood of risky behavior and can even put you in danger of alcohol poisoning. Long-term risks include:

Healthier Alternatives

Healthy Diet and Exercise

While moderate drinking may reduce your risk for certain conditions, a healthy diet and regular exercise will do even more to prevent heart disease.  

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 03, 2020

Sources

SOURCES: 

American Heart Association: “Is drinking alcohol part of a healthy lifestyle?”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Alcohol Use and Your Health.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Alcohol Use in Pregnancy."

Harvard Health Blog: “The truth about tequila and your bones.”

Mayo Clinic: “Alcohol Use: Weighing risks and benefits.”

National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse: “Harmful Interactions.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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