Is Tequila Good For You? | Health Benefits Vs. Risks
Tequila is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages. Originated in Jalisco, Mexico, it’s made from the blue agave plant.
Some people claim that drinking tequila benefits your health. However, these claims aren’t necessarily true.
Is Tequila Healthy?
In recent years, some online articles have suggested that tequila:
- aids digestion
- prevents type 2 diabetes
- strengthens bones
- supports weight loss
- prevents infections
- decreases pain
Health Benefits Linked To Agave, Not Tequila
None of these health benefits have actually been linked to drinking tequila. Instead, they’ve been linked to consuming raw agave.
The only proven health benefit of tequila is that it has less sugar, carbohydrates, and empty calories than most other types of alcohol.
This benefit only applies if you drink tequila by itself. Mixed drinks like margaritas contain sweeteners and other additives that significantly boost sugar, carb, and calorie contents.
Tequila Health Risks
Alcohol abuse occurs when you don’t drink in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines moderate drinking as:
- consuming one alcoholic drink or less in one day if you’re a woman
- consuming two alcoholic drinks or less in one day if you’re a man
The NIAAA has also identified the two most common forms of alcohol abuse: binge drinking and heavy alcohol use.
Binge drinking means:
- drinking 4 or more drinks in two hours if you’re a woman
- drinking 5 or more drinks in two hours if you’re a woman
Heavy alcohol use means:
- drinking more than 3 drinks in one day or more than 7 drinks in one week if you’re a woman
- drinking more than 4 drinks in one day or more than 14 drinks in one week if you’re a man
The NIAAA defines a “drink” as roughly 14 grams of alcohol, which is found in 1.5 ounces of tequila.
As with other types of alcohol consumption, drinking tequila impairs your judgment. This effect increases your risk of car crashes, falls, burns, and other injuries.
It also makes you more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors (such as unprotected sex or sex with multiple people) or violence (such as intimate partner violence or homicide).
Alcohol poisoning occurs when you drink a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time. Many people do this with tequila.
For example, they might drink multiple shots of tequila within a few minutes. They may also consume tequila in mixed drinks, which contain sweeteners and other additives that mask the taste of tequila and thereby encourage faster consumption.
Common signs of alcohol poisoning include:
- slurred speech
- trouble walking
- stomach pain
- nausea and vomiting
- slowed breathing
- slowed heart rate
- loss of consciousness
If you or someone you know experiences these symptoms, seek medical help immediately. When left untreated, alcohol poisoning may be fatal.
Long-Term Health Conditions
People who regularly abuse tequila are more likely to experience health conditions such as:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- liver disease
- cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, voice box, liver, colon, or rectum
- digestive issues
- mental health issues like depression and anxiety
- dementia and other memory problems
- weakened immune system, which increases your risk of various infections
Alcohol Use Disorder
Tequila abuse can also cause alcohol use disorder. Also called alcohol addiction, alcohol use disorder is a disease that makes you feel unable to stop drinking alcohol. Common symptoms include:
- experiencing strong cravings for alcohol
- drinking more or for longer than you planned
- drinking even when it causes health problems
- withdrawing from friends and family to spend more time drinking
- avoiding activities and hobbies to spend more time drinking
- facing problems in your personal or professional life due to your alcohol use
- needing increasingly larger or more frequent drinks to feel the desired effects (also called tolerance)
- experiencing withdrawal symptoms (such as nausea, sweating, or anxiety) when you don’t drink (also called physical dependence)
If you or a loved one struggles with tequila use, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. We provide comprehensive alcohol abuse treatment services, including mental health counseling, medical detox, and support groups.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Drinking too much alcohol can harm your health
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Drinking Levels Defined
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism - What Is A Standard Drink?
United States National Library of Medicine - Ethanol poisoning
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