Beer and Health

Photo Copyright © Krista Barrett 2001

Beer! What is it good for?

Take heart all you beer lovers! It is now a proven fact that beer…yes, BEER! can provide the same health benefits as drinking wine. No matter what type of beer you prefer, studies show that drinking beer in moderation (one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men) can and will reduce your chances of strokes, heart and vascular disease.

Interesting Discoveries...

 · 'According to Finnish researchers, drinking a beer or two per day can significantly lower your risk of developing a kidney stone. Researchers suspect that hops, one of the grains from which beer is brewed, may hamper the release of stone-causing calcium into urine.' (Quote from RealAge)

· Dr. J. Michael Gaziano of Harvard Medical School looked at 340 men and women who had just suffered heart attacks and compared their drinking habits with those of a healthy comparison group. Like other studies, this one found that a drink or two a day cut the risk in half. But it didn't matter what people drank. Wine, beer and liquor were equally effective at keeping the heart healthy. Alcohol raises the body's levels of HDL -- high-density lipoprotein cholesterol -- the good cholesterol that keeps the arteries free of dangerous buildups. (Detroit News wire services)

 · Dana Bartholomew of the Los Angeles Daily News reported the following..."'Beer is chock full of antioxidants, and antioxidants are really good for you,' said Colleen Trevithick, 23, a second-year Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at UCLA. 'They reduce aging and slow down age-related problems with heart disease,' she said. Trevithick and her father, Professor John Trevithick of the University of Western Ontario, investigated whether antioxidants in beer can prevent cataracts, especially in diabetics." (Los Angeles Daily News

· CBMC reports that "research has shown that the antioxidants (flavonoids) in hops, have the potential to help fight cancer including cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, breast cancer, and thyroid cancer."

· Dr. Curtis Ellison, professor of medicine and public health at Boston University and a global authority on alcohol effects on cardiovascular problems stated that “if the whole nation abstained there would be a greater increase in health costs and more lives would be lost. The worst thing would be to get moderate drinkers to stop drinking,” he said. “We must get across to physicians that (their patients) can get a lot of protection from a drink.” (Wine Today)

· Beer contains vitamin B6, preventing the build-up of amino acid called homocysteine that are linked to heart disease. High levels of homocysteine can bring on an early onset of heart and vascular disease.

· The 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious, long-term disabilities is strokes.

· Beer has also been proven to have a relaxing effect on the body thereby reducing stress and can help you sleep better. It has also had positive effects on elderly people and it helps promote blood vessel dilation, sleep, and urination.

Cooking with beer…

A safe way to consume beer is through cooking. With its unique flavors and versatilities, it is an unmatched ingredient to many recipes. Due to the fact that alcohol has a much lower boiling temperature than water, it evaporates quickly and leaves only the taste of the beer (and any chances of an alcohol addiction). It's great for marinades, a tasty water substitute in soups and stocks, as a batter for fried foods, added to gravies and used as a cooking liquid for steaming (seafood and more!).

The risks of drinking beer

Ethanol, a key element of alcohol, slows the reflexes and acts as a depressant of the brain. In a report listed at the Health Guide for the Perplexed, the following information is listed:

     "The presence of food in the stomach, especially food high in fat and carbohydrates, decreases the rate of alcohol absorption. Up to ten percent of ingested ethanol is excreted through sweat and urine or is exhaled through the lungs. The rest is processed through the liver. Most people process about one drink an hour. So drinking faster than this can quickly lead to intoxication in persons who are not heavy drinkers. The reason we have to qualify that they are not heavy drinkers is because one of the ways the bodies of heavy drinkers adapt to regular, sometimes daily, intake of large amounts of alcohol is by increasing the rate at which alcohol is metabolized. As a result, over time, the individual needs larger and larger amounts of ethanol to become inebriated. Some chronic drinkers have metabolic rates for alcohol that are thirty percent higher than for light or non-drinkers."

It also goes on to say that "...over time, poorly understood chemical changes occur in the brains of these individuals that cause them to become essentially addicted to alcohol." So if you think that you're immune to such an addiction, think again. It's simple science and it will get you in the end.

Beer is a wholesome drink that is made from natural ingredients, but too much can cause your body serious damage. Drinking in excess causes an increased risk of several serious health ailments, such as cancer, high blood pressure, and liver disease. For moderate drinkers, beer can be nutritious. For the not so moderate drinkers…it can be deadly.

Beer Ingredients:

· 25mg of sodium

· 13g of carbohydrate

· 0mg of cholesterol

· 0g of fat

· protein, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins B, B2, and B6

 

Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer.

--Henry Lawson

He was a wise man who invented beer.

-- Plato

 









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Front Cover July-August 2001