Thursday, September 30, 2010

Good news for beer drinkers by Dr. Erik Skovenborg (4)

The health benefits of moderate beer consumption

In his capacity as a General Practitioner it was the task of the author of this paper to pass on the lectures of the symposium to the delegates in an understandable form. The key word for a physician outlining the health benefits of moderate beer consumption is moderation:

To drink moderately is to drink within the limits set by your health, your economy and your obligations towards your family and friends: 1-2 drinks (1 drink = 12 gms of alcohol) a day for most women and 1-3 drinks a day for most men. Bar-drinking may end up as binge-drinking - food in the stomach will help to protect you from alcohol intoxication.

One drink for a women is almost the equivalent of two drinks for a man as women have more fatty tissue per kg body weight than men; that leaves men with more body water (ca. 10 liters) to dilute their drinks than women. Males also have a more efficient "First-Pass Metabolism" of alcohol than females due to a larger concentration of alcohol dehydrogenase in the stomach.

Is beer a boon to old people? Beer improves appetite, promotes secretion of gastric juice, aids digestion and may reduce the risk of stomach ulcers caused by Helicobacter pylori infection. Regular drinkers of beer (and wine) seem to be less prone to developing dementia. At bedtime beer is cherished as a mild sedative. Moderate beer consumption is likely to reduce the risk of maturity-onset diabetes and a recent investigation has shown a reduced risk of heart failure in light drinkers. The result of a moderate intake of beer for a group of elderly Australian beer drinkers was a 7.6 months increase in survival.

Is red wine better than beer? The results from recent research has directed attention to a link between beverage choice and lifestyle showing that beer drinkers in some countries tend to make unhealthier lifestyle choices than wine drinkers. Therefore the apparent good health of wine drinkers compared to beer drinkers in some studies seem to be a lifestyle effect and not a beverage effect. In Germany, where beer is the common alcoholic beverage, all research show that moderate consumption of beer protects against CHD.

In conclusion Beer is a well-balanced, low-alcohol beverage with significant levels of vitamins (in particular folates), minerals and silicon. Regular, moderate beer drinking may be a part of a healthy lifestyle together with wholesome food, exercise, keeping your weight down and not smoking.

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