Beer is a refreshing enjoyable beverage with relatively low alcoholic content which brings pleasure and social interaction to many people. When consumed in moderation – as done by the vast majority – beer can be part of an adult’s balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Beer has been produced for thousands of years, by the brewing and fermentation of starches, mainly derived from cereal grains-most commonly malted barley. Most beer is flavoured with hops, which add bitterness and act as a natural preservative, though other flavourings such as herbs or fruit may occasionally be included. Health benefits can be derived from hops as well as from the moderate level of alcohol.
Beer is a drink which can be enjoyed at many occasions. The subtle taste of beer is an excellent complement to food and it is recommended to match specific foods (e.g. cheese, chocolate or spicy food) by some of the world’s leading chefs.
The basics of brewing beer have been shared across national and cultural boundaries for thousands of years. Whilst using traditional methods, many brewers today apply modern technology to beer production. Production methods will differ from brewery to brewery, as well as according to brewery equipment and beer types. The main processes will, however, be similar.
Benefits of Beer
Beer is made from wholesome ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water. All these materials have natural components which contribute to a healthy, balance diet.
Beer is 93% water and is an enjoyable means of taking this essential substance. Beer is a thirst quenching long drink which is relatively low in alcohol.
Beer can be part of balance diet, providing essential vitamins and minerals.
It is an excellent source of vitamins which are essential for life. In particular beer is rich in the B vitamins for example niacin, riboflavin, pyridoxine and folate.
It is high in potassium and low in sodium, the right balance for healthy (low) blood pressure.
It is low in calcium and rich in magnesium which may help to protect against gallstones and kidney stone formation. Magnesium is essential for many aspects of health metabolism, including bones, as well as nerve and muscle functions.
Beer is rich in the mineral silicon which may help against osteoporosis.
Hops contain active compounds which prevent the removal of calcium from bones. This may be one reason why daily consumption of beer (33cl bottle 4.5% abv) has been shown to reduce the risk of kidney stones by 40%.
Beer drinkers are protected from the organism Helicobacter pylori which is known to cause stomach ulcers and may be a risk factor for stomach cancer.
Beer is also a source of soluble fibre which is derived from the cell walls of malted barley. A litre of beer contains an average of 20% of the recommended daily intake of fibre.
Beer is also a source of antioxidants which play a role in the fight against cancer. We hear a great deal about the presence of these in wine. What is less well known is that they also presented in beer where they come from both malt and hops.
Beer is fat free and cholesterol free.
Beer has a relaxing effect on the body thereby reducing stress.
Beer has diuretic properties due to hops resin, which stimulates the kidneys, thereby contributing to the elimination not only of excess water in the body, but also wastes and toxins.
Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.