Hospitals

You started out the new year right if you had beer instead of champagne

Of course champagne is a traditional libation to bring in the new year, but if you are starting out with a resolution for better health, beer would be the better option. Beer has gotten a bad rap through the years with the association to excessive girth in the tummy region, but Charlie Bamforth, a professor […]

Of course champagne is a traditional libation to bring in the new year, but if you are starting out with a resolution for better health, beer would be the better option.

Beer has gotten a bad rap through the years with the association to excessive girth in the tummy region, but Charlie Bamforth, a professor of brewing sciences at the University of California, Davis, says it’s more nutritious than other alcoholic beverages.

Apparently beer, he says, has more selenium, B vitamins, phosphorus, folate and niacin than wine, and it also has significant protein and some fiber. In addition to that, Bamforth says, it is one of a few significant dietary sources of silicon, which research has shown can help decrease the effects of osteoporosis.

Although wine does have antioxidants similar to beer, the health benefits have turned out not to be as significant as we once thought.

“The way that the wine industry advertised red wine [as healthy], making us think beer just causes beer bellies, was very clever,” says Bamforth, according to NPR.

Bamforth also pointed out that the dreaded belly probably isn’t from the beer itself. He argues that many beer drinkers are probably eating too much greasy pub grub and spending too many hours on the bar stool.

Arthur Klatsky, a retired Kaiser Permanente doctor and a researcher of the health effects of alcohol consumption said the particular type of beverage you drink doesn’t play a huge role in health. But he does agree that “beer has more nutrients, often more calories, B vitamins. It’s more like a food [than wine or spirits].”

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He says that if you want to reap the heart-health benefits of drinking, consistency is key: two or three drinks per day for an average man, and one or two for a woman. A drink, he notes, is a 5-ounce serving of wine, or a 12-ounce serving of 5 percent-alcohol beer.

[Photo from flickr user Quinn Dombrowski]