Beer and nutrition. You usually wouldn’t think of those two words even belonging in the same sentence, but just in time for the St. Patty’s Day festivities, recent studies are showing that beer is a little misunderstood.
Moderation is Key
According to www.BeerSoaksAmerica.org, Americans prefer beer more than any other alcoholic beverage, spending more than $74 billion and accounts for most of the hazardous* alcohol consumption reported in the U.S. (*defined as five or more drinks per day). The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) claims that the beer industry is a major contributor to the U.S. economy and provides $36 billion in business, personal and consumption taxes.
That’s a lot o’ beer!
“Believe it or not, beer is ok in moderation…to say it is nutritious is too much, but the research shows that those who consume moderate amounts of beer (one to two a day at the most) have a 30-40 percent lower rate of coronary heart disease compared to those that don’t drink,” O’Connor says. “Beer contains an antioxidant called polyphenols, 4 to 5 times more than white wine.”
O’Connor says that beer also contains B6, which prevents the build up of an amino acid called homocysteine, which is being linked to the occurrence of heart disease. Also, a study indicated that people who drink beer actually see an increase in B6 in their blood plasma; therefore proving beer, in moderation, is actually healthier to drink than wine and other liquors.
O’Connor provides these helpful facts about beer:
- Beer is fat free and cholesterol free (remember not calorie free though)
- Beer can be used in cooking to produce unique flavors, such as marinades for beef which can help tenderize and add flavor. It can also be used in batters for fried foods, and added to gravies to spice things up.
- Moderation is the key! I don’t suggest going and drinking regularly or large amounts, since both are linked to serious health aliments, such as cancer, high blood pressure and liver disease.
- Yes, beer can increase our belly sizes, hince the term “beer belly.” Again, remember the need for moderation.
“Whether you’re Irish or not, you may have a beer on St. Patrick’s Day, but again, moderation is the key to this drink’s health benefits,” advises O’Connor.
Sláinte! (to your health!) and pionta Guinness, le do thoil! (a pint of Guinness please!)