That beer is included in a list of healthy beverages is something that the anti-alcohol lobby would dismiss and pub goers wish fervently to be true.
Of all alcoholic drinks beer can rightly claim several health benefits.
Research by Britain’s Beer Sommelier of the Year, Jane Peyton, reveals that the blend of ingredients used in its manufacture have many health giving properties.
Malted cereal contains proteins, carbohydrates, soluble fibre, minerals, proteins and amino acids.
There are no fats in beer and most of the sugars are fermented out which means that beer has less calories per measure than any other alcoholic drink; a 4% beer contains only 190 calories.
Compare this with a hamburger or kebab which weighs in at a hefty 800 - 1000 calories.
Foodstuffs that are fermented increase their nutritional value so that the malt in beer is better for you than a breakfast cereal.
B vitamins are essential for most bodily processes, providing energy, maintaining the central nervous system and digestion.
Malt is one of the richest sources of Silicon, a mineral responsible for the creation of collagen, blood vessel walls, hair, nails and skin and helping to maintain healthy bones and joints. Silicon also plays a role in limiting the brain’s absorption of Aluminium which has been linked to the early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Hops have a long history in the treatment of various ailments including stress, anxiety, insomnia, stomach cramps, indigestion, earache and migraine. They also have anti-bacterial properties, stifling the growth of pathogens like Clostridium Difficile and Helicobacter Pylori which are associated with cancer of the stomach and gastric and duodenal ulcers.
The flavonoids and antioxidants contained in hops may guard against cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some types of cancer. Hops also help prevent calcium loss thus reducing the likelihood of kidney stones and osteoporosis.
Apart from containing vitamins and proteins, yeast is the source of ethanol (alcohol) which in small doses has been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of heart disease by raising the level of good cholesterol in the blood and lowering the risk of arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). It can also guard against type 2 diabetes, gallstones and Parkinson’s disease.
Professor Bamforth at the university of California says: “Many people do not realise that drinking in moderation has significant health benefits. Moderate drinkers have a longer life expectancy than non-drinkers.”
The NHS recommends 3-4 units per day of a 4% beer (1.5 pints) and 2-3 units per day for women (1 pint). People who consume just 1 or 2 drinks per week can also expect the same benefits. However binge drinking can have an adverse effect and negate the benefits of drinking in moderation.