Is Whiskey Good For High Blood Pressure? (2023 Edition)

Last Updated on March 7, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Whiskey is a dark, distilled spirit that started as medicine in 16th century Scotland. Doctors prescribed this liquor during the Prohibition Era for people with tuberculosis, pneumonia, and high blood pressure. 

And this article will discuss evidence supporting one of these traditional claims: Is whiskey good for high blood pressure?

Does Whiskey Help Lower Blood Pressure?

Ardbeg Whisky

Yes, moderate consumption of whiskey may help lower blood pressure. But the effect is very minimal.

Drinking more than three shots of whiskey can raise blood pressure to a dangerous level.

Whiskey is a brown liquor made worldwide using fermented grain mash.

Its alcohol content ranges from 40 to 184-proof, and any health benefits of this liquor are limited to moderate drinking. 

What Makes Whiskey Good For High Blood Pressure

Drinking whiskey in moderation is good for high blood pressure. It reduces bad cholesterol and fats that clog your arteries, giving way to better blood circulation. 

Although no formal studies were conducted, apothecaries sold this spirit in 16th century Scotland as a medicinal cure for joint pain, congestion, and slow aging.

How Much Whiskey A Day Is Healthy?

Fireball Whisky

At least one standard shot of whiskey for women and two standard shots for men in a day is healthy. Anything more than those counts can cause serious health problems. 

In the United States, the standard shot for a distilled spirit like whiskey with 40% ABV is 1.5 ounces.

6 Other Potential Health Benefits

6 Other Potential Health Benefits

1. Lengthens Life & Slows Aging

Aside from slightly lowering blood pressure, whiskey also has other potential benefits to lengthen your lifespan.

A team at the University of California conducted a study and found that people who drink whiskey in moderation get to live until 90 years old and beyond. 

In addition, whiskey contains antioxidants that prevent the breakdown of healthy cells in the body.

2. Relieves Stress & Strengthens Immune System

Whiskey has a high alcohol content that serves as a depressant, slowing down the brain functions in the body.

It provides soothing relief to the mind and body and helps strengthen the immune system by fighting infections.

In addition, during the Spanish Flu, doctors prescribed this spirit as a sedative for their patients suffering from extreme symptoms.

3. Hampers Weight Gain

The making process of whiskey involves distillations that eventually get rid of its sugar content.

It contains fewer calories compared to beer and wine. Drinking whiskey straight is ideal for people cutting down on their carbohydrate intake. 

Whiskey can also reduce your appetite, so try drinking a shot at the end of your meal.

4. Improves Memory & Brain Health

drawing of brain

Whiskey does not have a big impact on brain health, but its antioxidants may help balance the healthy chemicals in the brain.

There is also a study that shows how moderate drinking can reduce the development of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The risk for these diseases is slightly higher for people who heavily drink alcohol and are non-drinkers. 

Read: Which is Healthier – Whiskey or Beer?

5. Good for the Heart

As mentioned, whiskey has antioxidant properties that decrease bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels, which are good for the heart.

There are also more than 80 studies showing people who regularly drink whiskey have a 14% to 25% less chance of developing heart disease than people who are non-drinkers.

But is a glass of whiskey per day good for you?

6. Cures Congestion, Cold, & Sore Throat

animation of sick

You can mostly avoid indigestion if you consume whiskey after a meal because it helps the food pass through the digestive system smoothly.

Although whiskey cannot completely treat a common cold, it can help alleviate some symptoms like a sore throat.

We can trace the practice of using whiskey as cold medicine back to the Prohibition Era. 

4 Risks of Drinking Too Much Whiskey

4 Risks of Drinking Too Much Whiskey

1. Liver Damage

Long-term and excessive intake of alcohol can lead to swelling and inflammation of the liver [1].

It eventually ends up in cirrhosis of the liver, which causes irreversible damage to the largest internal organ of your body.

Although daily moderate drinking has potential benefits, it can also build up your immunity to alcohol over time, leading to overconsumption.

2. Heart Problems

The danger to your health if you heavily drink whiskey can outweigh the potential benefits that you may gain.

Drinking three or more shots of an 80-proof whiskey can cause high blood pressure and heart disease.

Men aged 65 years and older should not have more than one standard shot daily.

3. Cognitive & Mental Decline

Another serious health problem that comes from heavy use of alcohol is physiological dependence [2].

It is the dire state where a person experiences psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms after they completely stop drinking alcohol. 

It can also interrupt the important nerve signals sent by those neurons, leading to an increased risk of head injuries and cognitive decline.

4. Cancer Risk

A glass of whiskey

Alcohol can also increase cancer risk over prolonged periods of excessive use [3]. You are at risk of getting six types of cancers: mouth, throat (larynx and pharynx), colon, liver, breast (women), and esophagus.

It can also cause stomach cancer or gastric cancer because the stomach absorbs the alcohol directly into its walls. 



Can you drink whiskey while taking blood pressure medicine?

No, you can not drink whiskey while taking blood pressure medicine. It can increase the side effects of the medication and cause other complications. 

When is the best time to drink whiskey?

The best time to drink whiskey is after dinner. Having food in your stomach will less likely get you drunk fast. 

Final Thoughts

Whiskey has a lot of medical connotations like cold or flu treatment, sedative, or wound disinfectant. But is whiskey good for high blood pressure? 

It is only good for high blood pressure if taken in moderation. Cutting down on your alcohol intake will decrease your risk of hypertension. Moderate drinking will also let you enjoy all the potential benefits of whiskey. 



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