Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is synonymous with shamrocks, leprechauns and Guinness beer from the emerald island of Ireland. The oldest distillery of whiskey, Bushmills, was founded in 1608 in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and Guinness Stout Beer in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland. It's no surprise the fair people of Ireland love their pint o' Guinness, just look at the nutrition facts.
Drinking beer dates back to the 5th millennium BC. Today, the 2014 forecast for beer revenue according to Beer: Global Industry Guide is over $496, 614 million from 160,319.8 million liters sold worldwide.
The multimillion dollar beer sales show even though wine has always been thought of to be a more healthy conscious choice, beer also has some nutrient advantages. From a nutritional standpoint, beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine. The antioxidant content of beer is equivalent to that of wine. The specific antioxidants are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine. There is no evidence to support one type of alcoholic beverage over another for health benefits. (1)
Studies evaluating the benefits of wine, beer or spirits suggest that moderate* consumption of any alcoholic beverage is associated with lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
*Moderate drinking (1 drink/day for women and 2 drinks/day for men)
Since the main ingredients in alcohol production are plant derived, the phytochemicals have been discovered to be beneficial to human health such as quercetin, catechin or resveratrol in wine or flavonoids** in beer that possess anti-oxidant properties. The barley and hops used in the beer fermentation process provides beta-glucans, or bran fiber and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12. Current studies' research objectives show these are the main active compounds that may have a positive effect in the prevention of chronic diseases in human health.
Read more about the health benefits of beer here.
- Quercetin (a flavonol in vegetables, fruit skins, onions)
- Xanthohumol (a prenylated chalcone in hops and beer)
- Isoxanthohumol (a prenylated chalcone in hops and beer)
1. Denke M., Nutritional and health benefits of beer. Am J Med Sci. 2000 Nov;320(5):320-6.