The Benefits of Beer


This week our contributing writer Doctor Gifford-Jones talks about how drinking in moderation can be good for you.

In my medical column I’ve written for years that beer, used in moderation, provides health benefits. Many beer drinkers don’t know that some beers contain no sugars, a huge benefit in fighting obesity.

Beer does not contribute to heart disease as it contains no fat, cholesterol or triglycerides. Also its alcohol content increases the good cholesterol that removes cholesterol from the blood. And it greases blood platelets making them less likely to stick together, forming a fatal blood clot. And let’s not forget the relaxing effect of beer on the mind.

Some beers contain only 25 milligrams of sodium compared with 900 milligrams in a cup of soup, and 3,270 mg in a Rueben sandwich. The greater the amount of salt consumed the greater the risk of hypertension.

Important minerals are found in beer. Magnesium regulates the heart’s beat and relaxes coronary arteries. Potassium fights high blood pressure and calcium fortifies bones. Essential vitamins such as folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid (B3), riboflavin (B2), and pyridoxine (B6) are also present.

I recently suggested there should be a pub in every Canadian hospital. I wasn’t joking. I’m convinced that allowing patients who normally enjoy a drink at home to have an alcoholic beverage in hospital would help their recovery. Aristotle was right when he praised the virtues of moderation. Today the best way to save our health care system is for everyone to act moderately in drinking and eating.