Raise your glass to International Beer Day
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When consumed in moderation (we repeat, moderation), the benefits of a pint of beer go far beyond helping you wind down after a stressful week.
Every first Friday in August, the world celebrates International Beer Day.
Formed in 2007 and first celebrated in 2008, the day is all about celebrating beer and brewing, while bringing together friends and those who are really into discovering new beers from around the world.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than cracking open a cold one after a long day. We tend to view beer as a guilty pleasure – maybe because we associate all those suds with a beer gut and inevitable weight gain.
But you will be happy to hear that when consumed in moderation (we repeat, moderation), the benefits of a pint of beer go far beyond helping you wind down after a stressful week.
In this article, we will look at a few reasons why beer is not bad for you.
Please note, this is not an encouragement to imbibe, especially if you are a teetotaller or have a medical condition.
We have long been told that a glass of red wine is good for our health, but now an increasing number of clinical studies show that beer can have even greater benefits.
Dr George Philliskirk, of The Institute of Brewing and Distillery, says beer has a bad image – it is more often associated with drunken football crowds than health-conscious, discerning drinkers. But when drunk in moderation, beer provides a wider range of health benefits than wine.
Dr Philliskirk says it needn’t be an expensive beer – just don’t drink so much you cancel out any of the benefits.
“This means no more than a pint a day for a woman and between one and two pints, depending on the beer’s strength, for a man,” he says.
Worried about ending up with the dreaded barrel-shaped beer belly?
Dr Philliskirk says blaming a rotund figure on beer is misguided.
“Glass for glass, beer is less calorific than wine. It is the lifestyle that gives a beer-drinker a belly, not the drinking itself. Although the volume of beer consumed is generally more than wine, if you limit yourself to a pint a day you are consuming only a few more calories than if you drank a large glass of wine,” he says.
Research shows that drinking a pint of beer a day could improve the health of your heart.
According to Daily Mail, scientists found blood flow to the heart improved within a couple of hours of polishing off two-thirds of a pint – and that the effect was more powerful than drinking a non-alcoholic equivalent, and these findings support previous evidence that moderate beer consumption could protect against heart attacks and strokes. But this is believed to be one of the first studies to look at what happens to the cardiovascular system immediately after drinking beer, according to the tabloid.
They reported that scientists at Harokopio University, in Athens, recruited 17 non-smoking men in their late twenties and early thirties. Each had their cardiovascular health measured within an hour or two of drinking 400 millilitres of beer, the equivalent of a little more than two-thirds of a pint.
They later had the same tests done after drinking the same amount of alcohol-free beer or a measure of vodka. The results, published online, in the journal Nutrition, showed that all three drinks had some beneficial effect on the stiffness of arteries around the heart, but they were most flexible – and therefore improved blood flow the most – after drinking beer, they said.
They also reported that the scientists said the combination of alcohol and antioxidants in beer may be crucial to its health effects. That darker beers, such as stout and ale, have been shown to be better for the heart than lager.
Other benefits include:
Beer can help you live longer.
A 2016 study of 80 000 adults, conducted by the Pennsylvania State University, found a pint or two a day could help reduce the risk of having a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease.
The research, conducted among Chinese adults, discovered that a moderate daily alcohol intake (most visible with beer) helps slow the decline of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or cholesterol, better than not drinking at all.
Though light to moderate beer intake has potential benefits, it’s important to note that heavy intake and binge drinking can be extremely harmful.
However, long-term use can lead to alcohol dependence and can cause many serious side effects. These include malnutrition, memory loss, mental problems, heart problems, liver failure, inflammation of the pancreas, cancers of the digestive tract, among other things.
Beer is more nutritious than other alcoholic drinks.
We hear a lot about the abundance of antioxidants in wine, but beer has just as many. According to Piedmont Healthcare, the specific antioxidants are different because the flavonoids in barley and hops are different from those in grapes, but antioxidants are a good thing.
Beer is also higher than wine in protein and vitamin B. Even better – beer contains iron, calcium, phosphates, and even fibre.