Wearing Green…..

… Beer Goggles

St Patrick's Day shenanigans

St Patrick’s Day shenanigans

Celebrating St Patrick’s Day on 17 March always includes wearing green and drinking (green) beer. The celebration is synonymous with shamrocks, leprechauns and Guinness beer from the emerald island of Ireland. The oldest distillery of whiskey, Bushmills, was founded in 1608 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and Guinness Stout Beer in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland.

Nutrition facts for Guinness Beer. Courtesy: http://www.guinness.com/en-us/thebeer-process-ingredients.html

Nutrition facts for Guinness Beer. Courtesy: http://www.guinness.com/en-us/thebeer-process-ingredients.html

Drinking beer dates back to the 5th millennium BC. Today, the 2014 forecast for beer revenue according to Beer: Global Industry Guide is over $496, 614 million from 160,319.8 million liters sold worldwide.

The multi-million dollar beer sales show it may even have an impact on human health. Though wine has always been thought of to be a more healthy conscious choice, beer has some nutritional advantages. Beer contains more proteins and B vitamins than wine. The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine, but the specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine. There is no evidence to support one type of alcoholic beverage over another for health benefits. (1,2)

Studies evaluating the benefits of wine, beer or spirits suggest that moderate* consumption of any alcoholic beverage is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, some cancer and diabetes.

Standard drink chart. Courtesy of http://www.completefitness.com.au

Standard drink chart. Courtesy of http://www.completefitness.com.au

Since the main ingredients for alcoholic beverages are plant derived such as grapes for wine and barley and hops for beer, phytochemicals have been discovered beneficial to human health such as quercetin, catechin or resveratrol in red wine or flavonoids** in beer that possess anti-oxidant properties. The barley and hops used in the beer fermentation process provides beta-glucans, or bran fiber and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12. These are the main active compounds in current studies’ research objective that show to have a positive effect against chronic diseases in human health.

Anti-oxidant **Flavonoids-

  • Quercetin (a flavonol in vegetables, fruit skins, onions)
  • Xanthohumol (a prenylated chalcone in hops and beer)
  • Isoxanthohumol (a prenylated chalcone in hops and beer)

To read more about how beer can help your health.

**Moderate drinking (1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men)


1. Denke M., Nutritional and health benefits of beer. Am J Med Sci. (2000) Nov;320(5):320-6.

2. Arranz, Sara et al. “Wine, Beer, Alcohol and Polyphenols on Cardiovascular Disease and Cancer.” Nutrients 4.7 (2012): 759–781.


I think, therefore I drink.


Words to live by... (BeertopiaHK)

Words to live by… (BeertopiaHK)

I recently attended the Beertopia event with 400+ beers available to taste. It got me thinking of the merits of beer and my mentoring professor whose motherland is the emerald isle. He always professed (pun-intended and I paraphrase)”…the Irish are hardy people, we survived on beer. How else do you think we got through the famine?

There are many health benefits attributed to wine, the anti-oxidant factor called resveratrol, is the most studied wine compound with definite links with heart health (1). Although, realistically, the amount in 1 glass of wine do not equate to the amount of the phytochemical compound used in studies that show benefits. The health connection may not be so farfetched due to the main ingredient in wine: grapes. For beer, the main ingredients is water with a bit of fermented plants-barley and hops-for “flavor”. Overall, there may be more nutrients* in beer when compared to wine. *Vitamin B family complex, proanthocyanidin. However, BOTH wine and beer have more micronutrients than the average person would think such as calcium or magnesium. Below is a brief summary from the handy Google tool for nutrient comparison, just type in the search “x compare to y” or in this case “red wine vs beer”. I did compare the data to the standard USDA Nutrient Lab Database and they were similar enough for a rough eyeball comparison, but not to used for exact calculations in research.

Google Tool nutrient comparison between red wine and beer.

Google Tool nutrient comparison between red wine and beer.

What is a “drink”? (defined by USDA)

  • 12 oz beer
  • 5 oz wine
  • 1.5 oz spirit

The recommendation is 1 drink/day for women; 2 drinks/day for men. Interestingly, I looked at the France’s Manger Bouger, the equivalent to the USDA’s MyPlate (2) since the culture of food and eating is very different from a typical American.

France's drink recommendation

France’s drink recommendation

Their recommendation is: 2 glasses/day for women; 3 glasses/day for men.(3) Just a little bit different than USDA’s recommendations.


Giancoli A., A Toast to Good Health ADA Times Winter 2011.


2. http://www.choosemyplate.gov

3. http://www.mangerbouger.fr/bien-manger/que-veut-dire-bien-manger-127/les-9-reperes/eau-a-volonte-pendant-et-entre-les-repas.html

© Charlene C Ho and its a NUTTY, NUTTYgrrl world…blog, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Charlene C Ho and its a NUTTY, NUTTYgrrl world…blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.