Let’s first address the obvious: Tequila is not a “health” food. Drinking a frozen margarita is far from the nutritional equivalent of drinking a banana-turmeric chai smoothie. But when you compare it to other liquors you may be drinking, tequila has some unique benefits.[related]
To experience these benefits to the fullest, only purchase tequila that is made from 100 percent agave. Cheap American tequila doesn’t count — sorry, college students.
In Mexico, the law dictates that tequila may only be made with the blue Weber agave plant and only in certain regions, most of which are in the state of Jalisco. In the U.S., however, regulations allow tequila to be made with as little as 51 percent agave supplemented with other sugar sources — which is perhaps what has earned tequila its reputation as a liquid hangover.
It’s a Low-Calorie Alcohol
Tequila is made up of agavins, an indigestible sugar that moves through the body without being used for energy. The more complex molecular structure of agavins prevents them from spiking your blood sugar in response. These molecules have also been found to stimulate your metabolism, unlike most alcohol, which slows it way down.
It May Lower Cholesterol
A study from the American Chemical Society suggests that tequila could have the heart-healthy ability to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol. You’d never think it, but in this case a little booze could be good for your heart!
It Helps Digestion
In addition to adding probiotics, a post-meal shot of tequila may help stimulate digestion. Some studies have also found that a shot of tequila before the meal acts as an apéritif, stimulating metabolism and appetite.
Of course, this only really matters for your health if you’re someone with an intolerance to gluten — either due to an allergy or celiac disease. But since tequila is made from agave and not wheat, like some vodka, it’s entirely free of the (sometimes) inflammatory protein.
Overall, though, tequila isn’t the healthiest alcohol you can choose. A single glass of red wine has many more benefits than any harsh liquor ever would.
Holly Van Hare and Michael Serrur contributed to this story.