The Health Benefits of Beer
by Rachel B. Levin
amalgamation of malted barley, hops, yeast and water,
beer is an earthy elixir born of the harvest. Before
beer guts and Bud Light stripped the brew of its dignity,
the ancients knew of its value and natural healing
powers. In Babylonia, thought to be the birthplace
of beer, kings offered it to the gods at festivals
while women used it to refresh their skin. In ancient
Greece, Hippocrates used beer
as a tonic for fever and to heal wounds.
was pushed aside as a remedy in the wake of alcohol
abuse and modern pharmacology. Certainly, consuming
excessive amounts of any alcoholic beverage can damage
the liver, among other things. But drinking in moderation
can boost health in a variety of surprising ways.
Research now suggests that beer is equally as effective
as red wine in increasing the elasticity of arteries
and thereby reducing the risk of high blood pressure,
strokes and cardiovascular disease. It has also been
shown to defend against gall and kidney stones as
well as stomach ulcers.
May reduce the risk of high blood pressure,
stroke and cardiovascular disease
- Full of cancer-fighting antioxidants
- May slow the formation of kidney and
gall stones and stomach ulcers
- May guard against osteoporosis
- Chock full of B vitamins, magnesium
- Source of soluble fiber
- Promotes healthy skin
the bitter, leafy buds used to balance the malt’s
sweetness, are powerful agents of healing. The antioxidants
in hops — similar to those found in red wine — have
the potential to protect against cancer by soaking
up damaging free radicals. German scientists have
even brewed a beer high in hops’ antioxidant
xanthohumol, shown to stem the growth of tumor cells.
Hops also contain active compounds thought to guard
plentiful B vitamins and brewer’s yeast are
salves for the skin due to their nourishing, cleansing
and drying properties. Cleopatra was known to have
soaked in a beer bath; today, at a variety of spas
in Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, local
lager is poured into tubs for guests to enjoy the
rich and relaxing suds and incorporated into “brewski”
facials that leave the skin smooth and supple.
you still have to worry about the calories in beer,
but the brew itself has no fat or cholesterol, is
low in sugar and sodium and a source of soluble fiber.
So pop open a frosty bottle to enjoy with your burger,
pour the tawny ale into your favorite marinades and
toast the harvest with confidence.
Gets Tipsy in These Tubs
Chodova Plana, Czech Republic
Offers beer baths using the brewery’s
Beer baths and spa services available.
Beer baths, hay bed, massage, sauna and facials are available at the spa.
ale image © 2006 Bob Goldman and the Brewers
(Updated: 04/10/12 BH)