Cheers for Beer

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Do you know the benefits of beer?

Albuquerque Beer Week wraps up tomorrow. This wraps a week of festivities including dinners, tours, tasting events, and other things beer drinkers like to do (beer pong). Such fun; wait am I still in college?

While the health benefits of red wine is well-known and widely reported, most people aren’t aware of the benefits of beer.

A couple of months ago, the Winter 2011 edition of the “ADA Times” arrived in my mailbox. On the cover: several glasses of beef and “A Toast to Good Health” leading to the story about the health benefits of beer. My husband immediately thought the magazine was for him!

While I have known for years that beer and spirits have health benefits right along with wine, it turns out beer has a lot more going for it than just the alcohol and flavonoids.

Beer has fiber. I had no idea, but it does. While it isn’t going to prevent colon cancer necessarily, depending on the type of beer, 12 ounces can have up to 1.3 grams of fiber. So, you still need to eat your fruits and veggies.

Beer has B vitamins: a serving of beer, 12 ounces, has several of the B vitamins including folate, B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin and B12.

Beer has minerals: selenium (an antioxidant), potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and fluoride are found in beer too.

Depending on the type of beer, there is a good amount of phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other beneficial nutrients.

While all the nutrients found in beer are certainly no substitute for real food or even a multi-vitamin, I am pointing out that there is more to beer than just stink and foam.

Always, remember the benefits of alcohol are only seen with moderate consumption. This means up to one 12-ounce beer for women and up to two 12-ounce beers for men.

Personal Story:

My husband and I were in Boston this past November (2010) for a vacation. On the day he planned, we were out in Jamaica Plain at Sam Adams Brewery at 10 am on a Wednesday. Ten of us were on the early morning, mid-week tour. We saw Jim Koch and the guys in the commercials who really do work there. “Sam” was our tour guide (whom I wondered if his name really was “Sam,” or if all the tour guides had the name “Sam” or “Adam” – I didn’t ask). The Sam Adams Brewery tour was our second brewery tour. Our first was the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO in 1995. Sam Adams Brewery in Boston can fit inside one room of the Coors Brewery.

At the end of the Sam Adams tour, we sat in the tasting room, got our souvenir glass, and went through 4-5 pitchers of Sam Adams. Between 10 of us. At 10:45 am on a Wednesday. That’s what a vacation is all about. Don’t worry, we took the subway out there, no driving for us.  We did get lost walking to Doyle’s Café for lunch, the first place to serve Sam Adams on tap.

Select information in this post obtained from the Winter 2011 ADA Times article, “A toast to good health: craft brew trend brings new attention to the benefits of beer” by Andrea Giancoli, MPH, RD

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