A Toast to Your Health- The Healthy Benefits of Beer!
This month we'd like to share with you some of the benefits of drinking beer. That's right, beer has health benenfits! And this is something that's been known for years. In fact, a recent study by researchers at Emory University in Atlanta indicated that beer was the source of antibiotics for patients 2000 years ago. The researcher had set out to study oteoporosis in ancient African mummies and ended up finding a huge amount of teracycline in the bones. Interesting, considering Tetracycline wasn't patented until around 1950. The scientists traced the origin of the drug back to the fermented grain used by these people to make beer.
Another study, this time from Tufts University, says that drinking beer helps protect bone mineral density. Apparantlly beer (especially dark beer) contains silicon, which helps the body absorb and deposit calcium and other minerals into the bones to keep them strong. So those of you worried about osteoporosis- drink up! And let us not forget about the effects on blood pressure. A Nurses Health study involving over 70,000 woment age 25-42 looked at the association between alcohol consumption and the risk of hypertension. They found that women who drank moderate amounts of beer had less hypertension than those who drank either wine or spirits.
Research also suggests that drinking dark beer (up to one drink per day for women and up to two per day for men) may reduce the risk of heart disease because it contains anitoxidants that help prevent clogged arteries. In addition, beer is rich in B viatamins and folates- like you find in green leafy vegetables. These help keep homocysteine levels under control which is important since high levels of homocysteine have been linked to increased risk of heart disease. I wouldn't give up my spinach just yet but maybe I'll just have to find a nice porter to pair with it!
And how about the fact that hops may help lower cholesterol? This study has to give you a chuckle, because the study participants were nuns who had a consistently balanced diet and who never drank, but "for the sake of science" agreed to drink a half liter of beer every day for 45 days to see the results. The result showed that these nuns dropped their cholesterol levels by 6%. So I guess you could say, "A little beer is better than nun..."
Of course, there are studies that show that drinking more than the suggested amounts of one drink per day for women and 2 for men can cause harmful effects. So, enjoy, but don't overindulge-moderation is the key to your beery health. And yes, we'd all be drinking our beer anyway, but it sure is nice to know that something can taste great and be good for you!
Here's to Your Health!