Water, barley and hops. These are the three ingredients of beer, a low-grade fermented beverage that, if consumed in moderation, can have a preventive role in some diseases and bring benefits to our body.
In fact, contrary to what people believe, beer has low caloric content (goodbye to the myth of the beer belly ) and has nutrients that make it possible to be included in a healthy diet and integrated into the Mediterranean diet, as as indicated by Jesus Román Martínez, professor of the Faculty of Medicine of the Complutense University of Madrid and president of the Scientific Committee of the Spanish Society of Dietetics and Food Sciences(Sedca): “Beer is a traditional drink that, in addition to providing certain nutritious and non-nutritive substances, is a source of water for the body. Being a fermented drink, it is part of the Mediterranean culture, always taking into account that it is a healthy adult drink whose consumption should be responsible and moderate ”.
By responsible consumption the expert indicates that it is not more than 2-3 beer canes for an adult male a day and 1 or 2 for a woman. In addition, the intake should not be accumulated before a certain occasion, such as weekends, for example . Some of the benefits it offers are:
By its ingredients beer is a healthy food. Roman indicates that it contains different nutrients such as vitamins of group B (especially folic acid ) and contains a slight percentage of carbohydrates (maltodextrin) and alcohol.
The minerals are also present, especially magnesium and calcium , but vary depending on the water with which it is manufactured. “Likewise, there are other non-nutritive substances, but also important for the physiology of the organism, such as fiber and antioxidants, which come especially from a plant (hops) that is added to beer during its preparation to give it that bitter touch” , Add.
Prevention against heart attack
A cane against the heart attack . Under this sentence one of the effects of moderate beer consumption on health can be summarized. “It could prevent oxidation of cells , increase the amount of HDL (good) cholesterol and protect against acute myocardial lesions associated with heart attack,” says Roman.
Scientific evidence highlights that drinking beer is linked to a lower risk of ischemic heart disease, favors global cardiac function and could have anti-inflammatory qualities that would contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular risk .
Ingredients such as silicon, which promotes bone density and prevents bone loss , or phytoestrogens, associated with the improvement of menopausal symptoms and the prevention of osteoporosis , are present in beer, so some studies point out That this drink improves bone health.
In fact, more and more data support that the consumption of light to moderate beer can reduce the risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
Fewer infections in women
Drinking large amounts of alcohol has harmful effects on health, including depressing the immune system. However, if the consumption is moderate it could improve the immune response against the organisms that cause infectious diseases .
According to a study conducted in healthy adults by the Cold Institute of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC), drinking beer moderately for a month improves the immune system, especially in women.
Protection against diseases such as Alzheimer’s
The silicon contained in beer may be associated with the protection of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s . This is because it reduces the bioavailability of aluminum in plasma and brain tissue, linked to some important neurodegenerative pathologies.
Along with coffee, bananas, water, green beans and spinach, among other foods, beer is one of the main sources of silicon in the diet .
This drink consists of more than 2,000 components that make it have antioxidant properties . That is, drinking beer in moderation helps protect the body against oxidation and aging of cells. This prevents and / or delays the onset of some degenerative diseases.
Diabetes and beer
In the last decade there have been studies that show that moderate beer consumption influences diabetes prevention and control , as well as the evolution of its complications.
The document Preventive and protective effect of moderate beer consumption in diabetes mellitus prepared by the Spanish Diabetes Society explains this relationship: “Beer components such as soluble fiber, polyphenolic compounds, minerals and low alcohol content act on mechanisms and processes that trigger diabetes and its complications; provided that its consumption is moderate ”.
Recovery in sports
Beer and sport together? The answer is yes: beer can favor hydration and make it faster and more effective so that the athlete has less muscle aches.
The reason? Once again, its components: the properties of its ingredients, the low alcohol content and its organileptic characteristics make it possible, according to research by the CSIC and the University of Granada, to be a good drink to recover the hormonal and immunological metabolism of athletes after exercise
Folic acid in pregnancy
During pregnancy it is very important that the future mother does not drink alcohol. “That is why, if you feel like having a beer … it has to be without alcohol,” Roman warns. “The advantage of this drink is that it contributes to hydration and also provides folic acid so in pregnancy it is no problem to consume it.”
No to the ‘beer belly’
For years, beer consumption has been popularly associated with increased abdominal fat, better known as a belly or beer belly . However, this idea is wrong and several studies indicate that there is no evidence to prove it, as indicated by the Beer and Health Information Center.
The caloric intake of beer is low: a 200 ml cane is equivalent to 90 kcal and if it is without alcohol the figure is reduced to an average of 34 kcal / 200ml. ” The drink is not to blame for obesity , but an unbalanced diet, lack of exercise and genetic information,” they say.