Japanese wine is called sake. It derives from fermented rice and generally contains an alcohol content of 15 to 17 percent. Like all alcoholic beverages, drinking sake rice wine can trigger health problems if you drink too much, although there are health benefits associated with sake as well.
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Sake rice wine is an alcoholic beverage, containing 37.5 g of alcohol per 8 oz. serving. As with all alcoholic beverages, you should moderate your consumption of sake; one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men is considered moderate intake. Heavier drinking may damage your liver and may trigger a variety of other conditions as well, including cancer, heart disease and pancreatitis.
One of the health benefits of sake is the wine's selenium content; an 8-oz. portion of sake contains 3.3 micrograms. Adults require 55 micrograms of selenium each day. You can further boost your selenium intake further by serving sake rice wine with sushi -- tuna, flounder and scallops are all good sources of selenium.
Effect on the Stomach
Drinking alcohol can be rough on your stomach, but drinking sake rice wine is better for you than other varieties of alcohol. Research published in the February 2006 issue of "Digestive Diseases and Sciences" indicates that in a study carried out on rats, sake proved to be less of a mucosal irritant than whiskey. As such, switching to sake instead of another alcoholic beverage may be a smart choice if you suffer from stomach ulcers or gastritis.
May Improve Skin
You do not have to consume sake rice wine to reap its benefits -- it may have benefits when applied topically. A study featured in the 2010 edition of "Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry" suggests that a compound in sake, when applied directly to the skin, improves skin elasticity by stimulating sensory neurons. This study was performed on rats, so more studies are needed to determine if this finding correlates to humans.
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Alcoholic Beverage, Rice (Sake)
- MedlinePlus; Alcohol; July 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Selenium; May 2009
- "Digestive Disease and Sciences"; Less Irritative Action of Wine and Japanese Sake in Rat Stomachs; A. Nakagiri, et al.; February 2006
- "Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry"; Effects of Topical Application of Alpha-D-Glucosylglycerol on Dermal Levels on Insulin-Like Growth Factor-i in Mice and on Facial Skin Elasticity in Humans; N. Harada, et al.; 2010
- eSake; Answers to Common Questions About Japanese Sake; July 2007