Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beers To Your Health

Beer has been used in celebrations since ancient times. Now, many researchers report that moderate alcohol consumption may help reduce risks of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. However, did you know that beer, in particular, has more unique health contributions beyond what other alcoholic beverages offer?

One study of over 300 heart disease patients found that while all types of alcohol may lower the risk of heart disease, those who consumed beer- mainly or exclusively, had the strongest connection. Other studies show that beer's antioxidant, vitamin B6 and folate content are also proving to be beneficial to health.

Beer also contains silicon, which helps with bone formation. Silicon is usually found in high fiber cereal grains like barley, rye and wheat, which are what is used in beer. London researchers found that eating foods containing silicon improved bone density in both men and women. In addition, beer is the source of disease-fighting antioxidants called polyphenols which can prevent cell damage that may lead to cancer and heart disease.

What about getting a "beer belly?" Well, according to European studies, the "beer belly" is a misconception. Following all of the "low-carb" trends, beer got a bad rap. However, beer is a fermented product, meaning that some of the ingredients that go into a beer undergo a chemical reaction that changes those ingredients. The sugar that you start out with when you brew a beer is almost entirely consumed by yeast in the fermentation process, meaning that there are very few "carbs" in the end product.

In fact, beer contains less calories than the average cocktail. According to the USDA, the average regular beer is around 150 calories, whereas your average mixed drink contains around 300 calories. Some cocktails like the Black Russian, Pina Colada or Margarita are well over 400 calories a pop. And lets consider the things that beer doesn't contain. Beer has no caffeine, no fat and no cholesterol and is very low in sodium.

So cheers, salut, prost. Celebrate with beer - as always, in moderation.
Who knew a brew could be so good for you?

Written by The Beer Chick

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