Who doesn’t love beer? It’s one of the most classic alcoholic beverages in the world! In fact, its origins can be traced all the way back to present-day Iran in 3500 B.C. Today, the beer industry is worth US$600 billion. No matter where you are, you can order a cold one. However, beer has always had a bad rap for being unhealthy. While it’s true that excessive beer drinking can still cause the good ol’ “beer belly,” scientists have now proven that- in average amounts- beer can actually be healthy!
The research states that a pint of beer contains significant amounts of protein, vitamin B and antioxidants.
No one can argue that a nice, cold beer just hits the spot. It’s refreshing and can definitely quench even the most intense thirst. However, a group of scientists recently published a paper in The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, which claims that beer has several ingredients that can decrease risk of heart disease and increase brain health. This news was released just before International Beer Day on August 1st! Not that anyone needed a special occasion to drink a brewski.
The research states that a pint of beer contains significant amounts of protein, vitamin B and antioxidants. All of these nutritional ingredients can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists admit that, while beer and wine both contain the same amount of antioxidants, the flavonoids in barley and hops- two main ingredients in beer- are different than those found in grapes. The study also encourages physicians to learn about the plethora of health benefits associated with modest alcohol consumptions. Scientists said, “Physicians should be aware of the growing evidence supporting the nutritional and health benefits of moderate consumption of alcohol as part of a healthy lifestyle.”
The good news, though, is that you can drink beer every day if you really wanted to! However, the daily amount should be limited to one pint for men and half of a pint for women.
Many were shocked by the news! The South China Morning Post wanted a second opinion and reached out to nutritionist Sisi Yip. Born in Hong Kong, Sisi Yip attended the University of Leeds in England and graduated with a degree in nutrition. Now back in Hong Kong, Yip is a professional nutritionist and personal trainer. Yip agrees with the conclusions made in the American Journal of the Medical Sciences article.
She said that beer is, in fact, full of healthy ingredients, including “calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium, fluoride, and silicon.” However, potentially the most beneficial ingredient in beer is its polyphenols, which come in the form of flavonoids in beer. Polyphenols are compounds typically found in plants in the form of flavonoids and phenolic acid. These substances can increase the functionality of the immune system, which makes it easier for the body to fight off harmful bacteria and viruses.
Yip pointed out that research has proven polyphenols to have extreme anti-inflammatory properties that decrease the chances of obtaining type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Polyphenols can also help improve cognitive function and regulate cholesterol by increasing levels of HDL cholesterol. An increase in good cholesterol (HDL cholesterol) can cleanse the arteries and help blood flow better. It’s important to remember that the beer with the most polyphenols is regular beer, rather than light or dark brews. However, polyphenols aren’t the only helpful substance found in beer. Beer’s ingredient called xanthohumol can also help diabetics or borderline diabetics because it reduces insulin resistance.
While some may read this article and take it as a free invitation to drink as much beer as they want. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. These health benefits are only apparent when beer is drank in moderation. Excessive beer drinking can cause you to miss out on all of these wonderful health benefits and skip straight to the beer belly. The good news, though, is that you can drink beer every day if you really wanted to! However, the daily amount should be limited to one pint for men and half of a pint for women. According to Sisi Yip, “Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis,” she says.
Experts around the world agree that moderation is key when it comes to drinking alcohol. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol weekly can cause weight gain, heart problems and liver damage. So what is the recommended weekly amount? Both Yip and the UK’s Chief Medical Officer agree that 14 units is the maximum weekly amount of alcohol that any adult should consume. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer says that 14 units of alcohol per week is the safe, healthy amount. If you want to know what that amount looks like realistically, it is equivalent to six pints of lager, five pints of cider, six 175 ml glasses of wine, and fourteen 25 ml glasses of spirits.
For those who drink 14 units of alcohol weekly, Yip recommends spacing the units out over three days.