Today is International Beer Day and is just another excuse for us to guzzle some of that golden nectar. It is held on the first Friday of every August, so let's TGIF! Founded in 2007 in Santa Cruz, California, the day's purpose is to gather with friends and enjoy beer, celebrate those who brew and serve beer; and also unite the world by celebrating the beers of all nations together on a single day.
Beer is the most popular drink in the world, only after water and tea. Some people (Steven Petrosino of Pennsylvania) love it so much that they can chug an entire litre of beer in just 1.3 seconds. It is one of the world's oldest prepared beverages (possibly dating back to 9500 BC) and now there are about 400 types of beer in the world. Beer festivals like the massive Oktoberfest in Munich sees more than 6 million people from around the world every year.
Apart from giving people a good time, it also has many health benefits. You'd be surprised by how beneficial it can be, and yes, beer belly is a myth. Trust me, I'm a zythologist! After reading the following reasons, you might wonder why you aren't a beer drinker, if you aren't already. If you are not too fond of the taste, don't worry, there are numerous cocktails that can be made from beer and there are also many varieties, flavors and types of beer available, so take your pick. Or, you could just get used to it and acquire the taste. Most people will agree that there is nothing more refreshing and invigorating than a chilled beer after a long day's work.
But please keep in mind, these tips are only valid if you drink beer in limits, which is usually a pint or two. We all know how unhealthy things can get when you drink irresponsibly and cross the limits…
While wine is good for the heart, beer is also just as heart-healthy. Italian researchers have found that moderate beer drinkers had a 42 percent lower risk of heart disease compared to non-drinkers. I heart you too, beer.
IT'S BLOODY GOOD
Harvard researchers found that moderate beer drinkers are less likely to develop high blood pressure than those who drink other alcohols. Beer also helps prevent blood clots. When barley (key ingredient in beer) is warmed up and consumed, it improves blood circulation and helps you breathe when you feel congested. So, maybe a warm beer next time you feel under the weather?
FLUID FOR THE BRAIN
While beer may not make you smarter, it does boost your creativity. In a test where 40 men solved puzzles, those men with a blood alcohol content of 0.075 solved the problems a few seconds faster than their sober counterparts. It also boosts your memory – beer drinkers are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia than non-beer drinkers.
STRENGTHEN YOUR BONES
According to a study at Tufts University, boys who stuck to one or two brews had up to 4.5 percent greater bone density than non-drinkers. But those who had more than two beers were associated with lower density. Have one-too-many and you might end up getting your bones broken in many ways… Beer also provides relief for joint pain. Those who are past the age of drinking chocolate milk and malt now know what they can switch to.
BEER BELLY IS A MYTH
Beer has fewer calories than skimmed milk or orange juice and also lowers bad cholesterol. Dutch researchers analyzed 38,000 male health professionals and found that moderate drinkers were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with type-2 diabetes. Drink in average amounts and you won't have to worry about the flab!
A Dutch study found that beer drinkers had 30 percent higher levels of vitamin B6 than their non-drinking counterparts. Beer is also a generous source of vitamin B12 and certain vitamins in beer can regenerate the skin, making a positive impact on pigmentation. We were getting real tired of those fairness creams anyway…
Thanks to beer's high yeast and vitamin B content levels, not only is it nourishing for your hair but it is also considered one of the best natural treatments for dandruff. Rinsing your hair with beer even twice a week will make your hair extra soft and shiny.
FIGHT GERMS, NOT PEOPLE
Having a beer a day can boost your immune system and fight infections, according to an Oregon Health & Science University study. Scientists vaccinated monkeys against smallpox, then gave some of them some alcohol while others drank sugar water. The monkeys who 'drank' had better vaccine responses than those who consumed the sweet water. Seems like beer is sweeter than water… Also, beer contains an important antioxidant known as xanthohumol, which has powerful anti-cancer properties that help fend off cancer-causing enzymes in the body.
It could help in workout recovery, according to a Spanish study. Researchers asked students to exercise until their body temperature reached 104 degrees, and then had them re-hydrate with beer or water. As it turns out, people who had a pint were slightly more hydrated than those who had water. No more 'sports drinks' then! In addition, it is good for muscles since it prevents them from deteriorating. Also, researchers in Finland found that each pint of beer a man drinks daily lowers his risk of developing kidney stones by 40 percent. Beer is a diuretic, which is why you visit the washroom so often while drinking.
Canadian researchers found that one daily beer – especially a lager or stout – increases antioxidant activity that can stop cataracts from forming in the eyes. Again, drinking in limits is vital here, since the opposite effect was found in participants who had three or more drinks a day.
Beer not only makes food tastier (especially grilled foods) but it also aids digestion since it contains fiber (unlike wine), which acts as a natural laxative. It also slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach, which means it slightly suppresses appetite, assuring you do not over-eat.
Have a great weekend and don't forget to celebrate International Beer Day.