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  • keekefretter keekefretter Jan 30, 2006 11:17 AM Flag

    Calcium in Beer

    Raise a Glass to Beer

    Beer drinkers tend to get the short end of the stick. While wine connoisseurs are thought of as chic and sophisticated, beer drinkers are routinely portrayed as slothful, pot-bellied creatures planted in front of TVs. In one memorable news expos� several summers ago, beer drinkers on working-class Rockaway Beach in New York City were arrested (no open containers please), while the mayor sat comfortably ensconced among wine sippers at a philharmonic orchestra concert in Central Park.

    But now there's good news for beer drinkers -- it turns out that by and large alcohol is alcohol, and socioeconomic stereotypes aside, the health benefits of beer are not all that different from the benefits of wine. Of course the key word here is moderation -- most experts advise no more than two alcoholic beverages a day for men and no more than one for women. So what's so good about beer?


    An increasing body of serious research backs up beer's benefits...

    Bone protection. According to a medical team at Tufts University in Boston, beer may help prevent bone-thinning osteoporosis. Dietary silicon in grain products such as beer appears to reduce bone loss and promote bone formation. Beer contains silicate, a highly absorbable form of silicon that works by facilitating the deposit of calcium and other minerals in bone tissue. Margo A. Denke, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center, cautions that excessive alcohol intake is a risk factor for bad bones, perhaps because calories from nutrient sources are replaced with calories from alcohol.
    Lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Like wine, beer has well-documented heart-healthy benefits. Regular moderate drinking has a protective effect in both men and women against cardiovascular disease, confirms Meir J. Stampfer, MD, DrPH, chair of the department of epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He told me that moderate alcohol consumption in any form has an equivalent benefit -- "Wine is not better than beer, red wine is not better than white and spirits in moderation are also associated with lower risk."
    Better heart attack survival. A study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston noted that moderate drinkers (who consumed more than seven alcoholic beverages a week) had a 32% lower risk of dying from a heart attack than those who drank no alcohol. Light drinkers (less than seven drinks weekly) had a 21% lower risk. Like other alcohol, beer acts as a blood thinner to help prevent clogged arteries. Other research links moderate alcohol consumption with improved blood circulation in the brain and lower risk for stroke.
    Improved cholesterol levels. In her research, Dr. Denke discovered that people who consumed one to three drinks daily had higher levels of HDL, the "good" cholesterol. She also found that regular moderate intake of alcohol resulted in lower blood insulin levels. In a related US Department of Agriculture (USDA) study, women who drank one alcoholic beverage daily lowered their LDL ("bad") cholesterol and levels of harmful blood lipids known as triglycerides.

    By Jove! Kiki

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