Beer’s natural feelgood factor revealed
How beer can lower risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease
Why we shouldn’t feel bad for enjoying this…
Before I begin…
If you don’t drink alcohol, good on you.
Please don’t start because of what I’m about to say!
And if you do like a drink, remember that moderation is the key.
With those two things in mind…
Good news about beer
A few years ago, I was delighted to find out that one of my friends had taken up the lease on a shop in our local town.
He sells lots of very nice wine, which I occasionally buy, but for me his real skill is in finding amazing beers from around the world.
Whenever I pop in, he has something new to show me…
(Yes, he can see me coming a MILE off.)
And we usually crack open one to share, you know, just for research purposes.
When I get home my wife says: “That was a long dog walk today”.
Which is code for: “I KNOW WHERE YOU HAVE BEEN.”
But anyway the range of beer flavours you get now is amazing, with dank, sour beers mixing with citrus beers, cherry beers, Trappist monk-brewed beers, chocolate malts that tastes of milkshake.
What’s more, beer’s getting to be a big deal, with 1,700 breweries in the UK, a figure that keeps rising.
And yet few people consider beer to have any health benefits.
All the accolades go to red wine, which is full of anti-oxidants.
I saw a report this week that will bring cheer to anyone who likes beer.
Beer’s natural feelgood factor revealed
Research scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have been studying food components that stimulate the brain.
They’ve discovered that an ingredient in malted barley and beer, known as Hordenine, is a natural mood enhancer.
Now there’s a difference between the effect of alcohol, which acts as a depressant to temporarily improve your mood… and hordenine, which stimulates the reward centre in your brain that reacts to the hormone dopamine.
This is how even a single beer can lift your spirits (in a good way)…
And the news comes hot on the heels of research published last year by the Pennsylvania State University…
How beer can lower risk of stroke, diabetes and heart disease.
They studied 80,000 Chinese adults and found that a pint each day could lower risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
A beer a day can actually slow the rate of decline of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol.
Meanwhile in Finland, researchers found that beer can lower your risk of kidney stones by 40%.
Over at Harvard in 2011, researchers showed that middle-aged men who drink a glass or two of beer each day can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25%.
And finally, beer is a rare source of vitamin B12, which comes from the growth of bacteria in the barley grain.
Vitamin B12 keeps your nerves and red blood cells healthy. It also helps to make more serotonin, the neurotransmitter that gives you a sense of wellbeing and melatonin which gives you a better night’s sleep.
So what should you take from this research?
Well, definitely don’t view beer as the ‘elilxir of life’ (as wonderful as that would be if true) and don’t make it a replacement for good food and exercise.
Beer has a lot of calories, is addictive and can contribute to depression and other problems if abused.
If you enjoy beer, then don’t feel so guilty about drinking it in moderation – and by that I mean no more than two glasses of beer a day.
As part of a balanced diet and lifestyle, it can have some significant benefits.
However, treat it like you would any other ingredient. Go for something made with good ingredients and care.
You’re better off spending a little bit more money on a single beautifully made craft beer than you are chucking three cheap cans of mass-produced lager down your throat.
For instance, very hoppy beers can be a better option because they contain more phytochemicals. Many pale ales are packed with polyphenols which can help to reduce muscle soreness. Or there are stouts, which can have almost as many anti-oxidants as red wine.
Of course, there are many natural foods that can do what beer can…
So if you don’t drink beer, don’t worry at all, you’re not missing out.
There’s plenty of information on the People’s Doctor about specific foods you can add to your diet to combat pain, fatigue, depression, heart disease and many other health problems.
For instance, check these out…
Oh, and if you’re interested in beers and need some ideas of what to try, then you should check out the lists of winners and runners up in the CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain competition, which was announced last month. Click here.
Perhaps see if your local beer merchant can sell you a few of those!
So there we have it, a People’s Doctor issue all about beer. My publisher said it couldn’t (and shouldn’t) be done, but this is an ancient British drink that many people enjoy and I don’t think we should be made to feel bad about it or pretend that it’s not out there!
We’re all grown-ups and should be able to make our own balanced decisions about our health and happiness based on the latest information.
I hope I’ve offered an alternative angle for you to consider!
Enjoy your weekend!
Until next time, stay healthy…