With the holiday season upon us and all the celebratory traditions that accompany it, we must be concerned with the effects of overindulgence when it comes to food and drink. We have all heard about the French Paradox as it relates to the medicinal effects of red wine consumption and all the other heart healthy benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. However most of us are unaware of many other health benefits related to the consumption of beer. When I refer to beer in this article, I am referring to craft brewed beer as opposed to the mass produced versions.

Beer is made up of wholesome ingredients: malted barley, hops, yeast and water. All these materials have natural components, which contribute to a healthy balanced diet. Beer is high in vitamin B content as well as being high in potassium and low in sodium. Beer is also a source of soluble fiber, which slows down digestion of food and reduces cholesterol levels. Two beers a day provides 14 percent of dietary calories, 11 percent of dietary protein, 12 percent of dietary carbohydrates as well as phosphorus, riboflavin and niacin.

Various studies conducted both here and abroad have shown that beer consumption in moderate amounts lessens the incidence of arterial sclerosis heart disease, stroke, heart failure, various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s, gallstones, kidney stones and cataracts as well as a host of others.

Moderate consumption is defined as any where from 4 beers per week to 2 beers per day. The wide variance is due to the ages of the people studied, body weight versus consumption and other factors. Personally I consume anywhere from 1 to 3 beers per day depending on the day and the strength of the beer. It is a rough job but someone has to do it. Like anything else beer consumption alone will not make you healthy. An active lifestyle combined with a nutritious diet is absolutely necessary for maintaining health. I can honestly say that I have not missed a day of work in over twelve years and any of you who know me will agree that all those “20 ounce curls” have paid off.

As long as you remain aware of your eating and drinking levels, the holiday season can be the most joyous time of the year for gastronomic celebration. Even getting carried away once or twice can be overcome by returning to normal levels of consumption. Sometimes we can get carried away when there is so much tasty food and beverage available but you can refrain now or suffer the consequences later.

I apologize for not elaborating on the delights of beer and food this month but check out Celebrator Beer Magazine’s Beer and Food issue(October/November) for many great articles relating to this subject


Chef Bruce