Unlike wine, beer, and orange juice (which we love, one and all!), saké is sulfite-free. About 1% of the general population and 5% of asthmatics suffer a reaction from sulfites, often resulting in severe headaches. If this sounds like you or someone you know, give premium saké a try! You’ll be glad you did!!
Premium saké contains practically no congeners – the impurities and byproducts of fermentation in alcoholic beverages thought to cause hangovers. The main source of congeners in saké is proteins and fatty acids found in the outer portion of the rice. In premium saké, rice is milled to such a high degree that most congeners are eliminated. In our own experience, when consumed in moderation (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), premium saké is virtually hangover-free! In Japan, they say, “You know good saké the next morning.”
Saké has only about 1/3 as much acid as wine, so there’s no tendency for reflux and the “sour stomach” one can experience after drinking wine. Easy on the throat and stomach, premium saké goes down smooth and easy.
According to a 10-year study, in which he compared Japan’s low death rate from cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer to that of other countries, Akita (Japan) University’s Dr. Takizawa concluded that the person who drinks saké moderately every day has a low risk of being diagnosed with such cancer.
Amongst alcoholic beverages, saké contains the most amino acids. Takizawa- sensei injected amino acids from saké to cancerous bladder, prostate, and uterine cells. He found that amino acids play a role in preventing cancer, shrinking cancer cells, and, in some cases, killing cancer cells. In response to these results, the Japan National Cancer Research Institute conducted a 16-year study of its own. They picked 265,000 healthy adults from all over Japan to monitor the risk of cancer during that time period. According to the results of this study, the person who smokes, drinks alcohol, and eats more meat than vegetables every day has the highest risk of being diagnosed with cancer. However, they also found that those who drink saké moderately every day have a lower risk of cancer than those who don’t drink saké at all.
Medical researchers recommending daily saké consumption for cancer prevention?
We’ll drink to that!
Heart disease symptoms such as angina pectoris, as well as heart attacks, are due to atherosclerosis (hardening) of the arteries. This atherosclerosis is hastened by increased cholesterol. The balance of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) is the key to preventing the development of atherosclerosis. Even if one’s total cholesterol is high, he can reduce the risk of getting atherosclerosis by increasing good cholesterol, which loosens the bad cholesterol sticking to blood vessels and takes it to the liver. Several studies show that components from saké increase good cholesterol. In a study conducted by Dr. Watanabe from the Advanced Age Disease Research Institute in Japan, he compared males between the ages of 40 and 59. Among those who don’t drink saké at all, those who drink saké occasionally, those drinking less than 12 oz. of saké a day, and those drinking more than 12 oz. of saké every day, he found the most good cholesterol in the group of people who drink more than 12 oz. of saké every day.
The guy’s a doctor and he’s telling us that it’d be better if we drank a few glasses of saké every day? We love him!!!
There is reason to believe there is a component in saké that actually lowers the sugar level in the blood, similar to insulin. Diabetes is a disease that increases the sugar level in the blood due to an insufficiency of the hormone insulin, which converts sugar in the blood to energy. Professor Okuda from the Medical Department of Ehime University in Japan conducted research to study the connection between saké and diabetes. He injected a distilled extract of saké lees (produced after pressing the saké mash to get clear sake), into fat cells to see the reaction. He found that a component in saké lees allows fat cells to absorb blood sugar, thus lowering the level of sugar in the blood. This insulin-like substance in saké lees contains adenosine, which promotes dilation of the arteries.
Given the choice between a shot of insulin and a shot of saké, we’ll take the saké!
One definition of aging has to do with the deterioration of blood circulation. As you age, blood vessels get thinner and harder, making them easier to become clogged, which eventually can cause heart attacks and other serious health problems. Saké has been found to help stimulate the heart and improve blood circulation. Studies have also shown that saké increases the amount of HDL-C (good cholesterol), which seems to help protect against cardiovascular diseases.
In addition, analysis shows that saké yeast accumulates S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) in the saké mash during fermentation. Research has shown that taking SAM on a regular basis can help treat depression, liver disease, the pain of osteoarthritis, and may even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
As of January 2005, average Japanese life spans were 78.4 years for men and 85.3 years for women. This is the longest average life span in the world, and no one drinks more saké than the Japanese. They’ve discovered the Fountain of Youth! Now, it’s available to the rest of us – let’s drink!!
Why is sumo wrestlers’ skin so smooth and glowing? What? You’ve never been close enough to one of these gentle giants to tell? Take our word for it; their creamy complexions are the envy of ladies throughout the land, and their prodigious consumption of saké is believed to be the key.
Utilizing thermography, Dr. Hayashi of the Japan Sumo Association Clinic conducted an interesting study about body temperature change after consuming different types of alcohol. In this study, five sumo wrestlers from the Takasago stable each drank 3 go (18 oz.) of saké during a 30-minute time period and had their temperature taken 30 minutes before and after they drank. They also had their temperature taken at the same intervals when drinking equal volumes of whiskey and water cocktails (a popular drink in Japanese bars). Hayashi-sensei found that the wrestlers’ body temperature became 2 degrees (Celsius) higher for a longer period of time when they drank saké than when they drank whiskey. When one’s body temperature is moderately high for an extended period of time, it promotes blood circulation in the skin, as well as the circulation and distribution of nutrition throughout the body. Dr. Hayashi also often uses sake as a topical treatment to heal a sumo wrestler’s skin wounds. This is probably the origin of the famous, but most often misquoted movie line, “Bandages? We don’t need no stinkin’ bandages!”
There is also a saké-buro (saké bath) treatment for people who have a hard time sleeping at night due to stress and fatigue. A saké bath warms your body for a longer period of time than a regular bath does. Studies also show that saké baths help stabilize one’s blood pressure. Here, try this: Pour 2 to 3 glasses (8-12 oz.) of saké into your bath and stir. Take a dip for your health, but please don’t drink the bathwater!
In Japan, there is a saying, “The skin is the mirror of the internal organs.” In other words, good skin is an indication of good health, and amino acids are thought to play a major role. Saké contains the most amino acids of all alcoholic beverages. In fact, there are 7 times more amino acids in saké than in red wine.
Over a hundred nutrients found in saké, including amino acids and organic substances, activate skin cells and help prevent skin cell aging. As a result, skin moisturizers and cleansers made from saké are very popular cosmetics for women in Japan.
Saké contains significant amounts of the following amino acids: Glutamic acid (creates protein), Alanine (found in collagen, which is the main component in connective tissues, bone, and teeth, as well as being responsible for skin strength and elasticity), Leucine (an essential amino acid important for growth during infancy and maintaining muscle), and Arginine (plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones).
So, we think it's pretty clear that drinking saké can make you beautiful. Johnnie often observed this phenomenon, when a bachelor, living in Japan. The ladies around him quite frequently became more beautiful the more saké he drank . . .
Some people think that saké has more calories than other alcoholic beverages. “Saké makes me fat,” is a comment often heard among Japanese ladies who are concerned about getting in shape. Well, the good news is it’s not true, and it’s an unfortunate misunderstanding about saké.
The fact is, there are 7 calories per gram of alcohol, and this applies to any alcoholic beverage. Thus, your caloric intake when drinking depends on how much alcohol you drink, not whether you drink saké instead of wine, beer, or some other kind of cocktail. The other major source of calories when drinking comes from what you eat with your drinks. Saké pairs well with many lighter foods, so traditional saké snacks are often lighter in calories than snacks you might eat with other drinks.