INTERNATIONAL BEER DAY 2022: Among alcoholic beverages, beer is said to be the most popular drink in the world, after water and tea. It originated from fermented drinks consumed by tribal people, and tastes bitter but has a relaxing effect. Every year, on the first Friday of August, International Beer Day is celebrated. This year, the date falls on August 5. The celebrations began in the year 2007. In this article, we look at the potential benefits and side effects of beer.
Potential benefits of beer
- Beer is made by fermenting malted cereal grains with yeast and water. Hops, a cone-shaped flower, are added to beer during brewing, to produce its bitter taste. Some studies have found that hops contain a flavonoid called Xn, which has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and even anticancer properties.
- Elevated homocysteine levels in our bodies can cause heart diseases. Beer contains vitamin B and folic acids, which reduce homocysteine to safe levels, lowering the risk of cardiac diseases. Drinking beer in moderation thus might be beneficial.
- Studies have found that drinking beer helps increase bone mineral density (BMD) in men’s hips and spine, as well as hip BMD in post-menopausal women. Higher intake of liquor, however, negated and reversed these benefits. More research is needed in this area.
Harmful effects of beer
- Drinking beer impairs brain functions and can cause drowsiness, loss of balance, confusion, garbled speech, inability to make decisions, and blackouts. Over time, excessive drinking reduces the size of our brain and neurons, compromising its functions.
- Increased beer consumption is linked to higher mortality rates. For women, the risk increases significantly when they consume 40 grams of alcohol on average or two to three drinks per day. For men, it was 30 grams or two drinks per day.
- The alcohol in beer can damage the vascular system over time and contributes to cardiac disease. Excessive consumption of beer increases calorie intake, which may lead to obesity. Excess alcohol intake is also associated with liver cirrhosis, cancer and high blood pressure, which increases the possibility of cerebral stroke, and Ischaemic stroke.