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Light vs. dark beer

March 17, 2010 4:43:58 PM PDT
Light vs. dark beer. Learn how to celebrate St. Patty's Day without the caloric guilt.

Research from the University of Wisconsin says that "dark beer may be better for the heart because it helps to prevent blood clots."

Light vs. Dark Beer:

    FACT: A light beer can come in a variety of colors.

    FACT: Light beers are lighter on the tongue and usually fewer calories.

    FACT: Light beers are heavier with the hops flavor.

Health facts about drinking beer:
  1. Reduces General Heart Disease: Vitamin B6, found in beer, prevents the build-up of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been linked to heart disease. Higher levels of homocysteine in our bodies can make us more susceptible to vascular and heart diseases.

  2. Coronary Artery Disease (CAD): Case studies have shown that 30-35% of men who drink beer in moderation are less likely to have heart attacks. Polyphenol, an antioxidant, is just as much present in beer as it is in red wines.

  3. Reduces Risk of Coronary Thrombosis: Coronary thrombosis occurs when the opening of an artery becomes so small, the flow of blood is blocked. Beer acts as a blood thinner, reducing the risk of a heart attack.

  4. Reduces Risk of Atherosclerosis: Beer boosts levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the good cholesterol, lowers insulin levels, which is good for non-diabetics because it reduces the chance of developing atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

  5. Reduces Risk of Kidney Stones: It is not 100% certain why kidney stones form. Genetics and diet have played a major role with those individuals who develop them. Kidney stones may be reduced in middle-aged men by 40%. Scientists are unsure if these results were due to the water, alcohol, or hops.

  6. Insomnia: A common disorder that affects 1 out of every 10 adults. A good night sleep is beneficial for you energy level and mood. The general affect of beer has a tendency to make one drowsy.

  7. Cancer: The hops in beer contain xanthohumol, a powerful antioxidant. Concentrations of xanthohumol occur naturally in dark beer and can assist your body in stopping the early stages of tumor growth.

  8. Reduces Osteoporosis: Hops in beer contain phyto-estrogens, a compound that will help reduce hot flashes and fight osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. Beer should not be used as a replacement for estrogen therapy.

  9. Lowers Cholesterol: Moderate consumption of beer has been shown to increase the HDL cholesterol and lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also know as the "bad cholesterol" in postmenopausal women. Analyzed data suggests more than one or two servings per day is not productive and considered detrimental.

  10. Hypertension: Studies have shown a 14% lowered risk in high blood pressure by women consuming two or three beers a week. Hypertension is a disease where the blood pressure is chronically elevated.

    An average 12oz beer contains 150 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no caffeine, and is 92% water.
References:
  • Journal of the American Medical Association, Moderate Alcohol Consumption and Risk of Heart Failure Among Older Persons, 2001;285;1971-1977.

  • New England Journal of Medicine, Light-to-Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Stroke Among U.S. Male Physicians, Vol. 341-1557-1564, Nov. 18, 1999, No. 21.

  • American Journal of Therapeutics, Coronary Heart Disease Risk Reduction in a Predominantly Beer-Drinking Population, 12(4):390-395, July 2001.

  • European Journal of Clinical Nutritiion,Effect of lifestyle factors on plasma total homocysteine concentrations in relation to MTHFR(C677T) genotype. Inter99 (7), (2004) 58, 1142?1150.

  • National Institute of Health,Alcohol consumption is associated with reduced prevalence of goitre and solitary thyroid nodules, (Oxf). 2001 Jul; 55(1): 41-6
For more information, visit www.webmd.com

A few Saint Patrick's Day fun facts:

Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, and his crowning achievement was bringing Christianity to the pagans there. Now here's the jaw-dropping part: Patrick wasn't Irish. He was a Roman, born in Britain in the fourth century to an upper class family. Both his father and grandfather were Christian clergymen at a time in the early days of the church when the clergy were allowed to have wives and families.

Here are some more surprises:

America has a much longer tradition of St. Patrick's Day celebration than Ireland does. The first organized celebration of the day in America happened in Boston back in 1737; the first parade marched through New York in 1762. The first organized celebrations in Ireland weren't held until 1996, when the St. Patrick's Festival started in Dublin.

So what do the Irish do instead? Traditionally, they go to Mass (though more than a million now make time for the festival, too). In addition to being a national holiday, the day is a Catholic holy day, a remembrance of the man who brought Christianity to Ireland more than 1,500 years ago. Many make a pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick, the hill where it's said that Patrick banished the snakes from Ireland through the power of God.

More differences? Don't ask for corned beef and cabbage. Ireland's traditional meal is actually bacon and cabbage. Corned beef was an economical New York replacement that Irish Americans pinched from that city's Jewish community. And don't draw leprechauns on your party invitations, either.

They don't have anything to do with St. Patrick. Actually, wearing green doesn't either; the color associated with the saint himself is blue.

Happy St. Paddy's Day. Yes, it's Paddy--the nickname for Patrick. (Patty is the nickname for Patricia.)


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