I hear there’s some sort of big game coming up. Now, I don’t consider the World Handball Championships a game, personally, I take it far too seriously, but if you’re going to be frivolous about it, that’s your choice I guess…Okay, yes, I’m kidding. Even I am not quite so out of touch that I don’t know the Super Bowl is coming up (though I’ll admit that up until college, I kind of had it in my mind that the Super Bowl only happened every four years, like the Olympics. Imagine the looks I got, when people were talking about it my sophomore year and I was like, “but didn’t that just happen last year?”)
I also realize, what with the quantity of spicy wings and nachos consumed, nutrition isn’t exactly at the top of people’s minds during the afore mentioned sporting event. However, wouldn’t it be fun to have a couple of juicy factoids to briefly convince yourself that that beer you’re drinking is actually good for you? And, on the many other days of the year when the Super Bowl is not happening (that would be approximately 364 of them), but you’re somewhere with a cold hoppy beverage in your hand, you can nutritionally justify it. Unless, that is, it’s some disgusting lite or flavorless mass produced swill, in which case no amount of argumentation can justify it.
Wine has gotten a lot of press for it’s potential health benefits, which is all well and good, but I think beer is being unjustly left in the shadows sometimes. After all, all alcohol is actually good for your heart and reducing your risk of dying, not just wine. Alcohol shows what is known as a j-shaped curve relationship with mortality, which means people who drink none are slightly more likely to die than people who drink a bit, but then as you drink more your risk of dying swoops back up again. So, because it contains alcohol (and it is generally not mixed with a variety sickly sweet juices or sodas, which I’m pretty sure undo any positive effects), a bit of beer can be good for the old ticker. But, it gets better, especially for those of you who like a hefty porter or stout. There is some evidence that something in dark beer helps to prevent stomach cancer, which I’m certain is a very good thing to prevent. Also, a Japanese research team found that beer may help to prevent colon cancer, so that’s two cancer preventions for the price of one beer! Also, good news for we, the women who enjoy good beer, another study showed that women who regularly drink moderate amounts of beer have stronger bones (and they swear it doesn’t have more to do with the type of women who drink beer than the beer itself…). The researchers speculated it was because of the mineral silicon that is found in beer. And I mean, isn’t it a relief to find you can get silicon so easily?!
But, if you’re not swayed by nutritional reasons alone, consider this. Beer is one of the most ancient drinks that humans have consumed. There is evidence that people were drinking it (through straws no less!) in ancient Mesopotamia, and that the builders of the pyramids received a daily ration of beer in addition to bread – how else are you going to get someone to believe they can actually move a stone that big? Martin Luther, the guy mostly responsible for the reformation, for better or worse, had to be at least a pretty good guy because he insisted that drinking beer and singing songs was one of the best ways to keep the devil away. Always a good practice. And then, I believe it was our founding father Ben Franklin who insisted, “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
So there you have it. Just a few of the many wonderful attributes of beer…And now please allow me to put on my responsible giver of information hat and say, to my younger brothers if you are reading and anyone else who pursues similar, er, hobbies: No, just because beer is a relatively healthy beverage that has been with people for much of our history, that does not mean it should be slammed from a can or put into any sort of contraption that you can wear on your head draining directly into your mouth or generally drunk in a fashion that would lead to the consumption of large volumes. I’m afraid the truth of the matter, unequivocally, is that beer, like most things, should be consumed in moderation. Moderation, people! That means one drink per day for women or two for men. More than that regularly and things start to go downhill pretty quickly. All the more reason to make those one or two beers really good ones.