I don’t necessarily need a reason to enjoy beer. To me, it’s one of the greatest human inventions and it rates right up there with the wheel and the discovery of fire. The former I’m pretty sure, being invented after a few too many.
For those of you that have fielded the oft-slung queries about the health benefits of beer, the great people at the American Brewers Association have compiled a useful list of reasons why beer does the body (and soul) good.
While I get my doctor to give me a prescription for a keg, check out some of the highlights:
Lower rates of heart disease.
Consuming alcohol in moderation (defined by the U.S. government as no more than two drinks per day for men or one drink per day for women) may lower coronary heart disease risk for some people by 30 to 60 percent, even those at high risk because of diabetes, hypertension or a previous heart attack.
Aids in bone formation.
Beer contains silicon, a mineral that helps build bone mass. Dietary silicon has been shown in one study to improve bone density in the hips of men and premenopausal women.
Prevents cell damage that can lead to cancer and heart disease.
Hops and malt used to make beer are rich sources of disease-fighting antioxidants. Beer also contains polyphenols, the same antioxidants found in wine, fruits, vegetables, and green and black tea. Ales and lagers generally contain more antioxidants than light and nonalcoholic beers.
Protect against ischemic stroke.
Responsible for 80 percent of all strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Moderate consumption has been linked to improved cognition and memory.
Per drink (of equivalent alcohol content), beer contains more than twice as many antioxidants as white wine, although only half the amount of red wine. However, many of the antioxidants in red wine are large molecules and may be less readily absorbed by the body than smaller molecules found in beer.
Beer does not contain fat or cholesterol and is low in free sugars. The calories in beer come largely from the alcohol content.
For the complete list in all its suds-soaked details, head over to www.beertown.org and belly up to the bar.