Most of us by now have heard of the positive health benefits of ‘resveratrol’ – the antioxidant that is found in the skins of wine grapes and red wine. This hype first began from the ‘French Paradox’, when researchers in 1991 thought it was the antioxidants in red wine that protected the French — with their love of cheese and using whole sticks of butter in their cooking — from developing heart disease. In actuality, it is the alcohol itself that offers the protection, by raising levels of “good cholesterol” (HDL) which help to protect the heart.
While we can’t knock the wine industry for good marketing, we can help to set the record straight. While red wine may get all the press, and even a nod from the medical community – it is beer that is healthier for you! Here is why:
- - A study in 2000 by the Dutch Foundation of Alcohol Research revealed that homocysteine levels increased after moderate consumption of red wine and spirits, but did not increase after moderate consumption of beer. Homocysteine is a chemical thought to be linked to cardiovascular disease.
- - The study also revealed that beer drinkers had a 30% increase in Vitamin B6 (B6 prevents the build up of homocysteine).
- - Beer contains more nutrients than wine: Soluble fiber, B vitamins, a range of antioxidants, and is the richest source of silicon — Silicon may help in countering osteoporosis and protect against Alzheimer’s.
- - Dark beers are brewed from malted barley, so are richer in: flavonoids, antioxidants and nutrients; than light beers which are brewed from wheat.
- - A 2003 study found that men who drank beer had a lower risk of coronary artery disease than men who drank other types of alcohol — and women who drink 1-beer a day struggled less with hypertension than woman who drank other types of alcohol.
- - Hops contain rich flavonoids that are a better source of antioxidants than red wine, green tea, or soy products.
- - Xanthohumol, a potent antioxidant found in hops, assists in protecting against certain cancers and may help to breakdown ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL) in the body. Xanthohumol is also found in higher concentrations in dark beer.
- - Xanthohumol is also 6x more effective than antioxidants found in citrus fruits.
Now remember that this is for moderate drinking, and excessive drinking can have deleterious effects on health. With that said, moderate drinking in some of these studies is considered to be 2 pints per day. Here’s to your health – Cheers!