How many times have we read articles and news claiming the health benefits of the beer, but also those claiming the contrary?
Without any doubt, beer is a very nutritious but also alcoholic beverage, and what makes beer an aid or an enemy for health and wellbeing is the amount consumed.
But let us look at some interesting stories from the past…
In Medieval and Renaissance times, beer was a popular beverage regularly brewed and consumed at home. This beer, often called small beer, or table beer was unfiltered, oftentimes sweet, without this characteristic for the modern beer bitterness as it didn’t contain hops.
Typically, the alcohol level of small beer was below 1%, and it was a beverage for everyone, including children.
As we can guess, a function of such a beer was different than nowadays, and it owed its popularity to the richness of nutrients and relative safety when it comes to purity. The boiling during its preparation and the low alcohol content made this beverage free from bacteria that were commonly contaminating the water.
This story shows how beer became popular due to practical reasons, but it was believed to have extraordinary health properties, too.
Irish friend told me a story that still in the 20th century, doctors used to prescribe the famous Irish stout (the classic black beer) to those in need of more iron in their diet, and particularly to pregnant women.
While the high content of iron in this beer is questionable, it is rich in minerals, particularly magnesium, at the same time having a low level of sodium, an enemy when in excess, for the heart.
Beer is a very efficient isotonic drink, providing a quick replacement of fluids, electrolytes, and energy for the muscles. This is a reason why a couple of my friends, who run marathons and ultra-marathons, drink a pint of beer after reaching the finish line, choosing it over the sport drinks.
And they don`t seem to be the only ones…
Beer is rich in vitamins, particularly of the B group (B2, B3, B5, B6, and folic acid), and contains high levels of proteins, particularly true for those beers produced using malts.
And there are substantially more health benefits of beer, thanks to the multitude of ingredients present in malts and hops used in the brewing process, as reported in several respected scientific publications on anti-cancer and blood anti-clotting diet.
One more aspect often discussed as a part of healthiness is the caloric value and the alcohol content. Here, as many beers, as many parametrs…
…and it seems like moderation and prudence are key-words here.
As the consumption and effects of alcohol may have far-reaching social implications, a public health organization defined recommendations of a maximum daily alcohol intake. This is a great starting point, but one’s conditions should be decisive here: any alcohol consumption of pregnant women or children is not justifiable.And, when we drink, we don’t drive! – this is the last health aspect of beer for today 🙂