Margaret Thatcher's phenomenal energy levels during her premiership have long been the subject of admiration - and speculation. Cynthia Crawford, who was her personal assistant between and , claims, in a new television series about the private life of Britain's first woman prime minister, that in times of crisis, Mrs Thatcher would drink her favourite brand of whisky, Bell's, until dawn, and forgo her bed altogether. These claims will come as no surprise to the millions of scotch drinkers who swear by the medicinal properties of their favourite tipple.
Even the name, whisky, suggests its awesome power.
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Whisky is an English corruption from the Scottish and Irish Gaelic, "uisge beatha" or "usquebaugh", meaning "water of life". During Prohibition in the s, scotch, uniquely, could legally be imported into the United States because it was considered a medicine, not a liquor. A study published in the British Medical Journal found that whisky in small doses could help protect against heart disease. It has also been shown to reduce the likelihood of strokes and cataracts. Moderate drinkers are 30 per cent more likely than teetotallers to survive a heart attack.
They also have better overall health and wellbeing, including increased mental alertness in older age and fewer colds.
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In small quantities, whisky can have beneficial effects, although some people may actually find that it triggers their allergies. So why does it work?
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Alcohol seems to have a protective effect, but whisky is special, because, like red wine, it also contains antioxidants. These plant compounds come from the oak barrels in which whisky is stored during the maturation process. Antioxidants give whisky its characteristic taste and golden colour. They also help to mop up destructive chemicals in the blood known as free radicals, which hasten the ageing process and damage tissue.
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Whisky also has a relatively high alcohol content. Alcohol relieves stress by depressing certain activities in the brain, which are bound up with social inhibitions, anxiety and tension. Perhaps Mrs Thatcher, who had combative relationships with some of her Cabinet colleagues, needed some help to unwind.
Whisky, unlike some other forms of alcohol, is also relatively low in sugar.
A single shot of scotch contains just 55 calories. Ken Lindsay, director of brand heritage at Laphroaig, the Prince of Wales's favourite tipple, is adamant that a dram of whisky can restore physical and mental wellbeing. Little and often is the ideal. Before You Go. Expat Money. Expat News. Expat Life.
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Expat Property. Thus it is with proud silly people, who think themselves above everyone else, and are too proud to ask or take advice. When the second prince had thus been gone a long time, the youngest son said he would go and search for the Water of Life, and trusted he should soon be able to make his father well again. Pray be kind, and aid me if you can! Pray tell me if you know.
The water you seek springs from a well in an enchanted castle; and, that you may be able to reach it in safety, I will give you an iron wand and two little loaves of bread; strike the iron door of the castle three times with the wand, and it will open: two hungry lions will be lying down inside gaping for their prey, but if you throw them the bread they will let you pass; then hasten on to the well, and take some of the Water of Life before the clock strikes twelve; for if you tarry longer the door will shut upon you for ever. The door flew open at the third stroke of the wand, and when the lions were quieted he went on through the castle and came at length to a beautiful hall.
Around it he saw several knights sitting in a trance; then he pulled off their rings and put them on his own fingers. In another room he saw on a table a sword and a loaf of bread, which he also took. Further on he came to a room where a beautiful young lady sat upon a couch; and she welcomed him joyfully, and said, if he would set her free from the spell that bound her, the kingdom should be his, if he would come back in a year and marry her.
Then she told him that the well that held the Water of Life was in the palace gardens; and bade him make haste, and draw what he wanted before the clock struck twelve. He walked on; and as he walked through beautiful gardens he came to a delightful shady spot in which stood a couch; and he thought to himself, as he felt tired, that he would rest himself for a while, and gaze on the lovely scenes around him.
So he laid himself down, and sleep fell upon him unawares, so that he did not wake up till the clock was striking a quarter to twelve. Then he sprang from the couch dreadfully frightened, ran to the well, filled a cup that was standing by him full of water, and hastened to get away in time. Just as he was going out of the iron door it struck twelve, and the door fell so quickly upon him that it snapped off a piece of his heel.
Is whisky the water of life? - Telegraph
Then they all three rode on together, and on their way home came to a country that was laid waste by war and a dreadful famine, so that it was feared all must die for want. But the prince gave the king of the land the bread, and all his kingdom ate of it.
In the same manner he befriended two other countries through which they passed on their way. Then they waited till he was fast asleep, and poured the Water of Life out of the cup, and took it for themselves, giving him bitter sea-water instead. Scarcely, however, had he tasted the bitter sea-water when he became worse even than he was before; and then both the elder sons came in, and blamed the youngest for what they had done; and said that he wanted to poison their father, but that they had found the Water of Life, and had brought it with them.
He no sooner began to drink of what they brought him, than he felt his sickness leave him, and was as strong and well as in his younger days. You have had the trouble and we shall have the reward. Pray, with all your cleverness, why did not you manage to keep your eyes open? Next year one of us will take away your beautiful princess, if you do not take care.
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