… Beer Goggles
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.
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.
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.
- 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.