Who ever thought there would be health benefits to drinking beer? Well, there is! Studies have revealed that beer can produce the same benefits as drinking wine. Whether you prefer ales, lagers, stout, bitter or wheat beers, studies show that one drink a day for women or up to two drinks a day for men will reduce your chances of strokes, heart and vascular disease. It’s no secret that the stroke is a leading cause of death and serious, long-term disabilities in the UK.
What’s interesting is that it was proven (New England Journal of Medicine – Nov. 1999) that those who drank one beer a week compared to those who drank one beer a day experienced no variance in reducing stroke risks. It is said that light to moderate drinkers will decrease their chances of suffering a stroke by 20%.
A researcher at the Texas Southwestern Medical Center (May 1999) reported that those who consume moderate amounts of beer (one to two a day at the most) have a 30-40% lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to those who don’t drink. Beer contains a similar amount of ‘polyphenols’ (antioxidants) as red wine and 4-5 times as many polyphenols as white wine.
Alcohol has also been attributed of its ability to increase the amount of good cholesterol (HDL) into the bloodstream as well as help to decrease blood clots.
Beer also contains vitamin B6, which prevents the build-up of amino acid called homocysteine that has been linked to heart disease. Those of us who have high levels of homocysteine are usually more prone to an early onset of heart and vascular disease. A new study performed at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute in Utrecht indicates that those who drink beer had no increase in their homocysteine level but those who drank wine or liquor had an increase of up to 10%. Also noted was the fact that those who drank beer experienced a 30% increase in vitamin B6 in their blood plasma, thereby proving that beer (in moderation) is actually healthier to drink than wine and other liquor.
Did you know?
- Beer is nutritious if consumed in moderation
- That beer is fat-free and cholesterol free?
- Beer has a relaxing effect on the body thereby reducing stress.
- It can help you sleep better
- It helps prevent heart disease and improves the blood circulation
- It has proven to have positive effects on elderly people. It helps to promote blood vessel dilation, sleep, and urination.
An average beer contains the following:
0mg of cholesterol
0g of fat
13g of carbohydrate
25mg of sodium
protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins B, B2, and B6
Cuisine a la biere…
Beer in cooking is deeply rooted in Western Europe. Beer is incomparable as a cooking tool. With its unique flavors and versatilities is it unmatched. Due to the fact that alcohol has a much lower boiling temperature than water, it evaporates quickly while cooking your recipe and thereby only leaves the characteristic taste of the beer.
Some ways to use beer in cooking are as follows:
-Marinades for beef – both tenderizes and adds flavor.
-Used as a substitute for water in different soups and stocks – adds much more flavor to your recipes.
-Used in batters for fried foods.
-Added to gravies to spice up the taste.
-Used as a cooking base/liquid for steaming foods (sausages, shellfish, clams, etc.)
Just remember when cooking with beer, keep your beer’s primary taste in mind. Malty beers add a sweet/nutty taste while hop lagers can add a bitter/herbal flavor. Beer increases in bitterness as it reduces to use a sweeter/malty beer when cooking for long periods of time.
Now after reading all this ‘good stuff’ on beer, this isn’t to say that you should go out and get ‘boozed up’ because it’s good for you! Obviously the key, as was mentioned earlier, is moderation. Drinking in excess of these guidelines has been associated with an increased risk of several serious health ailments, such as cancer, high blood pressure, and liver disease. Be warned that drinking over moderation can lead to liver damage, dangers of drunk driving, and damage to fetuses of pregnant women who are drinking…just to name a few.
The health risks of beer
Ever heard of the ‘beer belly’? In a German study, Gerard Klose said ‘dangers begin to emerge in men measuring more than 94 centimeters around the middle, and become “really risky” at a girth of 102 centimeters’. ‘Too much fat’, he said, ‘makes diabetes, certain forms of cancer and heart disease a distinct possibility’.’
It’s no secret that high levels of fat accumulated on the body is unhealthy and can cause serious illness over time. An article in the London Times reports that fat that collects around the internal organs to form the typically male beer belly will also find its way into the bloodstream and in turn, raise your cholesterol levels. This leads to heart and vascular disease and strokes.
Moderation is key here, as it is in all things. Beer is a wholesome drink that is made from natural ingredients, but like anything that is overused or overly consumed into the body, it, too, can cause damage and become dangerous for us. For moderate drinkers, beer can be nutritious.
‘Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.’Thomas Jefferson