Thursday, January 12, 2012

NW - Health Benefits of Beer

This is a subject I stumbled upon today that grabbed my interest.  I am not trying to justify drinking, as i drink socially, maybe once a month only as a fun night with friends (which I thought had no health benefit at all).  But consuming beer in excess, just like consuming anything else in excess, is not healthy.

What is Beer?

4 main ingredients - water, malt, yeast and hops.  Malt is germinated cereal grains, usually barley or wheat, Hops are a cone shaped flower off of a climbing plant that is in the same order as flowering trees such as an apple or cherry; almost like a second cousin.

Health benefits of beer:

- It reduces risk of coronary heart disease - Alcohol can increase good or HDL cholesterol-levels and reduces the chances of arteries hardening and/or thickening of the blood - which happen to be two main contributors to heart attacks. (2)

- Beer Contains silicon, which aids in making bones stronger, denser, and helps one avoid osteoporosis. The silicon also counters the neurotoxins that are associated with Alzheimer's disease. (3)

- The hops in beer have compounds called polyphenols, which is a great at lowering cholesterol, fighting cancer, and even killing viruses. Shela Gorinstein who is a Ph.D and a resercher at Hebrew University located in Jerusalem quotes: "Just one 12-ounce beer a day decreased fibrinogen, a clotting factor, and increased albumin, which is very important for protein metabolism," (1)
-Some bioflavonoids have similar properties to estrogen, which can and may serve as a natural form of hormone replacement therapy in women after menopause.

- Rich in Magnesium,  which acts against degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant components and  also help one age more gracefully.  =)

- Beer reduces kidney stone formation by dissolving particles and different toxins before they stick and clump together to form larger kidney stones.

- It contains many  B complex vitamins, such as B6, B2 and B12 .

-  Beer is part of the Mediterranean diet, it is followed by million and includes a beer in his pyramid.

Is Beer Healthy?

Chemisty perspective:

Is bread healthy?  Bread contains 3 of the main ingredients that beer does:  water, malt and yeast.  If bread is healthy, then what about hops?

Hops are used in beer to nutralize the sweet flavor of hops with bitterness, and has an antibacterial property that stabolizes the yeast in production and make the beer last much longer and not spoil.  As i was researching, i found out Hops are oddly enough used medically to treat alot of different illnesses and has even been pegged by a few different ppl as a "power house plant".  Hops are used for anti-anxiety, help treat insomnia, as a digestive aid, and was even used by the chinese to treat leprosy! And this is just to name a few.  Hops are very healthy.

Is the fermentation unhealthy?  The natural immediate answer would be a no.  Did you know Cheese and chocolate are also fermented?  The Healthy green moms blog describes the fermentation of grains as "practical, frugal, healthy and timeless."

Here is a paragraph from Rebecca wood from her website. Rebeccas articles often appear in Martha stewarts "living magazine", Mens fitness, and yoga journal. She is also author of The Splendid Grain, which won both a James Beard Award and a Julia Child/IACP Award; and author of The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, has been in continuous print for over 25 years

     "Why do some foods like chocolate, wine and cheese taste so delicious? Fermenting magically    transforms their original ingredients into something more desirable. Besides upping flavor, some lactic-acid ferments, such as homemade sauerkraut, actually strengthen your immune system. ............. Fermentation increases the flavor, medicinal value and nutrition of foods."

Right?!  Fermentation shockingly is healthy for you.  In conclusion, the basic chemistry of beer is healthy for you.  

Sources:  (1) (2) (3)

In Conclusion, if we a 12 pack of  orange juice, we would become sick and the acid would ruin our teeth.  If we drank a 12 pack of milk our bodies couldnt handle it and we would throw up.  We can apply this to beer as well, the main problem I think we have is when people drink too much!

 Wow, now we feel less guilty!  DONT DRINK AND DRIVE!

I Love my Job!


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