Sunday, July 6, 2014

Beer: It's Good for Your Health

Beer: it’s not just for marinating steaks.

Hopefully it’s not too late to apply the news this weekend, but today the Daily Mail reports that beer is good for your health. It’s much better than Diet Coke. It’s even better than fruit juice.

The British tabloid says:

Amid warnings that we should avoid soft drinks and fruit juice due to their high sugar content, some experts have suggested we drink only milk or water. 

But another, rather unlikely low-sugar beverage is increasingly being hailed for its health benefits: beer.

Research suggests it can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, aid weight loss and even balance hormones – and now it’s attracting more and more health-conscious men and women.

But, let’s not overlook beer’s great nutritional value:

‘If you analysed beer you would  be amazed at how many super-nutrients there are in it,’ says Dr Stephan Domenig, medical director of The Original F.X. Mayr Health Centre in Austria. ‘Beer contains  all of the essential – and many of the non-essential – amino acids.’

As well as these protein-building blocks and minerals including phosphorus, iodine, magnesium and potassium, beer is rich in calcium  so could benefit your bones.

A study by Tufts University in the United States in 2009 found that moderate beer consumption can protect bone mineral density.

And, beer can protect you against diabetes and obesity:

While high in vitamins, beer is actually low in sugar, high levels of which have been linked to diabetes and obesity. 

While a can of Coke contains seven teaspoons and an orange juice six, half a pint of beer contains just over one.

‘Compared with soft drinks, it  will give less of a blood sugar  spike,’ says nutritionist Dr Kathryn O’Sullivan, who last year carried  out a scientific review of beer. ‘Beer is about 93 per cent water so it’s quite hydrating.’

If it also hydrates, is there anything beer cannot do… in moderation, that is?

A 2008 study published in the journal Food And Chemical Toxicology found the silicon was able to reduce aluminium uptake in the digestive tract and slow the accumulation of the metal in the body and brain tissue. But beware of overdoing it:  a University College London study warned that men drinking more than two pints a day could suffer memory loss.

Beer could also help heart health. A 2013 study at Harokopio University in Athens found it boosted the flexibility of the arteries. Scientists measured the cardiovascular health of non-smoking men under 35 two hours after drinking 400ml of beer and compared that with drinking vodka or alcohol-free beer. While all three drinks had some beneficial effect on the stiffness of arteries, beer had the greatest benefit.

Beer can raise good cholesterol too. ‘The main component that helps protect the heart is alcohol, which raises “good” HDL-cholesterol and has other benefits,’ says Dr R. Curtis Ellison, professor of medicine and public health at the Boston University School of Medicine.

However, that’s not a licence to binge. ‘Large amounts of alcohol may cause disease of the heart muscle,’ warns Dr Ellison.

If you insist on drinking more than two pints a day, beer’s benefits will become detriments.

No comments: