In this post, we’re going to explore some of the potential health benefits of mead.
Mead is an ancient alcoholic beverage made from fermented honey and water, also known as honey wine, and it has been gaining popularity in recent years.
Not only is mead delicious, but it may also be good for you.
Mead has been around for a very long time, and it has been consumed in different forms throughout the world, including Europe and North America.
This ancient drink has become increasingly popular in the United States recently. There aren’t any clinically proven health benefits of mead, but it has been used for centuries and is considered a healthy drink.
It’s even historically been used to make healing tonics. Should you count on mead having health benefits? Keep reading to find out!
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Possible Health Benefits of Mead
Mead was called the “drink of the gods” or “nectar of the gods” by ancient Greeks.
It may be the oldest alcoholic beverage, but since there aren’t any studies to back up the health claims of mead, we should be aware that they may or may not be true.
1. May be good for gut health
Mead is considered to be one of the world’s oldest probiotic drinks.
The probiotics in mead are said to help to improve digestion, reduce inflammation in the intestines, and improve the body’s absorption of nutrients.
The only problem is that studies on alcohol consumption show that alcoholic beverages are known to disrupt and damage gut bacteria.
This may be a case of the alcohol negating the possible positive effects that the probiotic content has, and having the opposite effect on good health.
2. May help upper respiratory infections
It’s argued that since honey is one of mead’s main ingredients, it is beneficial for managing respiratory infections.
Honey, as you may already know, is also used as a remedy for a sore throat and other upper respiratory tract issues.
The catch here is that mead is a fermented beverage, and there is no evidence that fermented honey has the same benefits as unfermented honey.
Honey does have antimicrobial properties that are shown to be helpful for treating infections. But, again, there’s no evidence that fermented honey keeps those benefits.
Plus, alcoholic drinks and sugar both weaken the body’s immune system, which means, in theory, they can’t help fight off infection.
3. May be anti-inflammatory
Mead’s potential anti-inflammatory properties also come from honey. However, the same medicinal properties may be counteracted by the alcohol content of mead.
If it’s true that mead can be anti-inflammatory, then it could lower the risk of heart disease and contribute to the treatment of chronic diseases. But again, there is no clinical proof, only anecdotal evidence.
Keep in mind that there are some studies that show that light drinking can be beneficial to your health.
Because there is no general consensus on the topic among experts, you should weigh the pros and cons for yourself.
Possible Side Effects of Mead
Since both light and excessive alcohol consumption have been associated with negative effects on the heart and arteries, the evidence we have of the negative effects of alcohol could mean it’s not worth it.
Even though mead has a long history of being used medicinally from what we would consider old wives’ tales, the clinical studies show otherwise now.
The following are possible side effects of mead or alcohol in general. Remember, these effects mostly apply to moderate to high alcohol consumption.
- Headache: Mead is an alcoholic beverage, and like other alcoholic drinks, it can lead to headaches due to dehydration.
- Nausea: Drinking too much mead at once can cause nausea due to the alcohol content.
- Dizziness: Mead contains a significant amount of alcohol and can cause dizziness if consumed in excess.
- Insomnia: Mead can act as a stimulant, leading to difficulty falling asleep.
- Anxiety: Mead contains a significant amount of alcohol, which can cause feelings of anxiety in some individuals.
- High Blood Pressure: Drinking mead can temporarily raise blood pressure due to its alcohol content.
- Allergies: Some people may be allergic to the ingredients in mead, leading to reactions such as skin rashes.
- Liver Problems: Excessive consumption of mead can lead to liver problems such as fatty liver disease.
- Diabetes: Some studies have suggested that alcohol can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Weight Gain: As with other alcoholic beverages, mead can lead to weight gain due to its high calorie content.
Homemade Mead Recipe
Homemade mead is definitely a thing!
In fact, you can buy a homemade mead making kit on Amazon.
To make mead, fresh honey is combined with water to form the mead ‘must’.
Sometimes spices or fruits are also added.
Yeast is then added to the must, and the mixture is left to ferment in a container, like a carboy.
During the fermentation process, the yeast consumes the sugars in the honey and converts them into alcohol.
The fermentation process can take anywhere from one to three weeks, depending on the temperature and the amount of yeast used.
During this time, the mead should be stirred once a day to ensure that the yeast remains in suspension.
Once the fermentation has completed, the mead is then usually racked off the top into another container and allowed to age.
The aging process allows the mead to clarify and mellow out the flavors. Once the mead has aged for a desired amount of time, it is then ready to be bottled and enjoyed.
If you buy a mead making kit, it will walk you through the entire brewing process step-by-step. If you want to make it on your own, follow these steps:
- 5 gallons of water
- 3 lbs of honey
- 1 packet of yeast
- 2 tsp of yeast nutrient
- 2 lbs of fruit (optional)
- Optional spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, etc)
Instructions for Making Mead:
1. Prepare your equipment: Sterilize a 5-gallon carboy and airlock, as well as any bottles and siphons you plan to use.
2. Boil the water: In a large pot, bring the 5 gallons of water to a rolling boil.
3. Add the honey: Once the water has boiled, turn off the heat and add the honey. Stir until the honey is completely dissolved.
4. Cool the mixture: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
5. Add the yeast: Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the mixture and let it sit for 10 minutes.
6. Add the yeast nutrient: Once the yeast has had a chance to activate, add the yeast nutrient and stir.
7. Transfer to the carboy: Using a clean funnel, siphon the mixture into the carboy.
8. Add the fruit (optional): If desired, add 2 lbs of fruit to the carboy.
9. Seal the carboy: Add the airlock and stopper to the carboy and seal it tightly.
10. Store the carboy: Place the carboy in a cool, dark place and let it ferment for 3-6 weeks.
11. Bottle the mead: After the fermentation period is complete, bottle the mead and enjoy!
Where to Buy Mead
You should be able to find the modern variety of this beverage in a store near you.
Mead is pretty common and considered a wine, so it might be sold anywhere you can find wine, like your local liquor store and possibly even your grocery store.
It will usually be in the dessert wine aisle or section.
It’s believed that any positive effect from mead is better coming from homemade mead, just like any other homemade vs storebought product.
It’s also important to drink mead made with organic honey for potential health benefits.
If you want to buy a little to see if you even like it, store-bought is an ideal way to test it out!
The health benefits of mead may be up in the air. However, if you enjoy alcohol now and then, or use mead as a tincture and consume it in small amounts, it could be helpful.
This fermented honey and water mixture touts great benefits. If they’re true, they could have a positive impact on your overall health.
Just like anything else in life, it’s probably best to focus on the moderation of honey-based mead. Also, pay attention to all the incoming studies that we have the privilege of having access to in modern times.
What do you think about consuming this honey-based beverage?
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