Japanese Sake, with a history of over 2000 years, shares a deep bond with Japan’s national food, rice. It has been praised as the most amazing invention in Japan by the American Sake expert, Gordon Heady, who has lived in Japan for over ten years. Gordon also mentioned that he used to be a wine drinker, but when he first tasted Sake, he fell in love with it immediately.

Not only the taste of Sake is as appreciable as wine, but also it is said that the Sake is less harmful to the body compares to other alcohol drinks and may generate good benefit to people when drink in moderation. As the old Japanese saying goes[酒は百薬の長], Which means the right amount of Sake can be as effective as medicine in the past.

With the development of modern medical science, we know this old saying is not hundred percent right. But this old saying does make sense to several kinds of diseases to some extent based on recent years study on alcohol. Actually, alcohol has been widely used in many aspects of our life already, if you observe carefully, you’ll find the alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol), which has been used widely in sanitizer, medical treatment for cleaning the wound, etc. However, drinking alcohol, which is known as Ethyl alcohol, scientific studies have found that the consumption of it is actually the root cause of some severe disease that human are likely to have. But considering from the social and culture side, ethyl alcohol is an Indispensable part in human history development and our daily life. So, learning how to choose the right alcohol which can harm the body the least is the most important thing to do. In this article, we are going to introduce you one of the healthiest alcohols that currently mainly consumed in one of the world’s cleanest countries, Japan. It is called Sake, or in a more precise way, Nihonshu.

As a drink existed in Japan for over 2000 years, Sake has been used in many ways. It’s served not just as an alcohol drink, but more like a cultural and social bond Infiltrated in Japanese people’s everyday life. During the Sake production process, people cooperated with each other, they learn about the rice growing knowledge, and with the knowledge they gained, it enriches Japanese rice agriculture. On the other hand, studies have found out that Sake has been proved to include around 700 kinds of nutrition ingredients, such as amino acid, vitamins, minerals, selenium, enzyme, peptide, etc. It’s true that people don’t need to drink sake to get these nutrients especially when they can also find these nutrients in other foods. But for alcohol drinker, if they can drink in moderation, Sake should generate more health benefits than other alcohol drinks when drinking in the same amount. Below is a comparation chart among Sake, beer and white wine from Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association.

(A Comprehensive guide to Japanese Sake by Japan Sake and Shochu makers Association. 2011,3)

Rich in nutrients that can build the strong immune system

As we all know, a strong immune system has been considered as the best protector for the human body. The job of immune system is to detect and destroy. It can protect us from getting the flu and decrease the duration of illness. Scientific studies have found out that there are many factors will influence the construction of immune system. Such as hygiene, sleep quality, nutrition intake, cortisol levels and Supplement Intake.

As one of the key factors that influence the composition of immune system, nutrients intake is what we are going to talk about in this article. From the factor of nutrition, for alcohol drinker, it is better to choose alcohol with higher nutrition. According to the WHO Global Status Report on Alcohol 2018, there are 2.348 billion people (43% of the population) are current drinkers. And Alcohol is consumed by more than half of the population in only three WHO regions – the European Region (EUR) (59.9% of current drinkers), the Region of the Americas (AMR) (54.1%) and the Western Pacific Region (WPR) (53.8%). In all these top regions, people mainly consume beer and wine. But as we can see from Table 1.1, the amount of Glutamic acid content that can generate a lot of health benefits included in Sake, is the highest compared with Beer and white wine. (Almost five times or more in Sake than wine/beer). If we analyze different alcohol from the view of nutrition factor, it means that Sake should be the wisest choice.

Glutamic acid is an amino acid used to form the protein, protein takes about 20% in the human body and it is one of the key factors in constructing the immune system.

One of the amino acids compound found in the highest concentrations in sake is selenium, a mineral that straightly connects to people’s metabolism. Study has shown that immune cell function and metabolism are closely linked. The alterations in cellular metabolism influence immune cell function, and conversely, immune cell function determines the cellular metabolic state.

Since Sake has the highest nutrition content (Glutamic acid) inside of it, so when you consume the same amount of alcohol, it will benefit your immune system and metabolism system at the largest percentage compare to wine and beer.

Skincare benefits in Sake

There are many chemical skin care products that have been used by women around the world. It’s true that using them can make your skin look shiny and smooth. But the consequences of using chemical cosmetics might cause many skincare issues. When you take off your make-up, it will hurt your skin, make your skin look dark, and cause rough pore, age spot and acne problems, etc. Instead, non-chemical skincare products, as they’re from plant-based sources, are really skin-friendly and gentle. You’ll be able to achieve the same brightening effects from natural ingredients instead of exposing your skin to harsh, toxic chemicals. In this article, we will introduce the Japanese Sake, which mainly comes from rice grain, is also one of the natural healthiest materials for skincare as well.

The rice, which has been used as the main material for Sake production, is full of minerals, vitamins, amino acids. As we discussed earlier, the content of amino acid on itself has many good effects. It can brighten, tighten, and soften the skin, and these benefits remain intact even when rice is converted into rice water. The slightly acidic pH levels created during the rice fermentation process support cell regeneration, minimized pores, and brighter skin.

As we mentioned that Sake has been served as a national drink for about 2000 years, it is also said that Sake has been used as a skin toner for centuries in Japan. A fun fact is that Koji mold, which containing skin-pampering kojic acid, is the national mold of Japan! The process of making sake dates back to about the third century AD. From way back when, the skin beneficial properties of rice were obvious. It’s no folklore that sake producers were known for having the most beautiful and softest skin in town.

The Sake lees and Koji have a variety of substances that inhibit performance of melanin, which is the main culprit of sun spots, age spots and freckles. The kojic acid in Sake can help moist your skin. Alcohol in Sake can also be a useful addition to help ingredients penetrate the skin, preserve the product, and make it feel lightweight in applied. For Sake added cosmetics, normally they will also add other nutrients such as fruit acids or vitamin C, it will give the thirsty skin cells a much-needed hydration boost.

Sake added cosmetics can also help ease the symptom of acne because they can help tighten your pores. Acting as a natural astringent, it can help reduce inflammation and redness of severe acne as well as reduce appearance and size of pores.

Since sake is good for our skin, besides adding sake in cosmetics, you can also add sake into your bath to give yourself a treat. Normally around 700 ml should be enough for a good Sake bath. If you also like to drink Sake, it will be the best match to enjoy sake with a sake bath!

Benefit of Stomach friendly

For alcohol drinker, sometimes it is inevitable that the over drink situation can happen and cause hangover. A hangover is the experience of various unpleasant physiological and psychological effects following the consumption of alcohol, such as wine, beer, and distilled spirits. Hangovers can last for several hours or for more than 24 hours. Typical symptoms of a hangover may include headache, drowsiness, concentration problems. The severity of a hangover is closely linked to how much alcohol the person has consumed and how much sleep they have had. In the vast majority of cases, hangover symptoms are resolved after about 24 hours. There is no absolute cure, but people can take steps to relieve many of the symptoms. One way to avoid hangover is to choose your alcohol wisely.

1. Be sure to drink the same amount of water as sake. Since sake’s alcohol content is pretty high, if you drink an equal amount of water, it will neutralize the alcohol content in your body. There’s actually a culture of drinking water called “yawaragi” in Japan, which is to use water soften the sake’s alcohol impact on the drinker.

2. Be sure to drink slowly. Similar to wine, it is not the kind of alcohol that you want to gulp down. It’s best to enjoy one little taste at one time and whet your tongue and not your throat.

3. Try to warm the sake up. Alcohol only begins to take effect to body temperature after warmed up. That’s why it can seem like it’s easier to get drunk off of hot sake. However, you also sober up faster from hot sake as the sake in your body cools down. From the point of view of avoiding hangover, it is actually recommended drinking hot sake to people who have trouble pacing themselves drinking sake. All in all, after discussing benefits of drinking sake to decrease the chance of getting hangover, it is better to control the amount of Sake people should drink. Drink in moderation should be the first rule no matter what kinds of alcohol drink.

Above we discussed about the health benefits of Sake compared to other drinks when drink in moderation. According to Japanese Nutrition institution, the right amount for people to drink Sake is around two go, which is around 360ml. For alcohol drinkers, instead of enjoying wine and beer, we believe that sake is a more comparatively healthy choice for you. So why don’t you start your journey with sake and enjoy alcohol in a healthier way?