Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beer is Good

I'm not going to pretend that I drink beer for the health benefits, I drink beer because it tastes good. But, I've always believed beer was one of the more healthy foods I eat or drink. It's full of grains and yeast that provide tons of vitamins that are hard to get from other foods. Beer is like a multivitamin.

I read this article yesterday that I pulled from Boulevard's Facebook page. A study was conducted giving marathon runners 34 to 50 ounces a day of non alcoholic wheat beer while also giving another group a placebo wheat drink. The results:
The beer drinkers were more than three times less likely to experience upper-respiratory infection, and their markers for inflammation were 20 to 32 percent lower than the placebo group’s.
While I'm not a marathon runner, I do run 2-3 miles a day and I have suffered an injury due to inflammation (bursitis in my heel). I damn sure would rather drink some Halcyon Wheat, Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' or Boulevard Wheat than chug Ibuprofen like I've done the past couple of weeks and I'd be a lot healthier for it (okay you caught me, I did both).
So what’s the explanation for this sudsy miracle? “Polyphenols,” according to David Nieman, Dr.P.H., a professor at Appalachian State University and one of the Munich Marathon researchers.

Polyphenols are an antioxidant chemical found in many plants and fruits. “Polyphenols have antiviral properties, they help regulate the immune system, and they help to down-regulate genes that are related to turning on inflammation and stress,” Nieman explains. “And beer has a lot of polyphenols.”

There’s a growing body of research that shows polyphenols can act as a more-effective substitute for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, which Nieman says is many marathoner’s post-race “drug of choice.”
I think 75th Street Brewery's Blueberry Wheat beer may be the most polyphenolic drink in the world. This may also explain why that Boulevard Wheat I had at the end of the Tour de BBQ last year was so damn good (you can sign up for this year's Tour de BBQ here and experience the benefits of Boulevard Wheat). This also could explain why, as I've long asserted, that bicyclists and runners, generally, are good beer people.

So that's just one health benefit. What else is beer good for? Drinking beer (moderately) reduces risk of stroke by 20%, reduces chances of coronary heart disease by 30-40%, increases your good cholesterol, gives you Vitamin B6, it's fat free and cholesterol free and reduces stress. It also makes holidays with the relatives a lot easier to get through. I believe that drinking a beer (or two) every day could be the most enjoyable and healthful thing you can do.

These are important things to keep in mind any time some advocacy group or lawmakers want to make it harder for you to buy or drink beer. One could argue that taxing beer at a higher rate than other beverages or foods is actually bad for the health of the country.

This would all be moot for me if beer didn't taste good. Craft beer, or at least beer not made from rice and corn, is probably better for you than the macro beers, but it's all better for you than anything you'd find on the Quiktrip fountain. And let's face it, you'd rather drink a beer than a Rooster Booster anyway.

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