The 'Booze Question'. Is Beer Healthy?
With local breweries popping up everywhere around France and worldwide, I think it's about time to explore the 'booze question'. Yes, booze, beer, alcohol, can it be part of a healthy diet? I am not here to tell you that your drinking habit is ok, I'll rather answer the question if drinking one or two beers in the evening can be a part of your healing journey.
The fact is that excessive drinking (4 beers in one sitting) is simply not good for your health and can increase your risk of developing many chronic diseases and issues such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, digestive problems and even cancer (including stomach, liver, lung, breast and esophagus cancers).
But when consumed in moderation (one or two beers a day), beer can be part of a healthy lifestyle. Let's look at the natural antioxidants found in beer. Believe it or not, beer contains so called polyphenols, which are responsible for beer’s cardiovascular benefits. Moreover, beer contains bioflavonoids, powerful phytochemicals that have anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and even anticancer properties. Also, beer contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals such as magnesium (the majority of population is deficient in magnesium), selenium, potassium, phosphorus, biotin and B vitamins. When it comes to immunity, moderate beer consumption has shown to improve immunity in both men and women. [source]
But here's the caveat - during the brewing process, batches of beer typically undergo pasteurization to ensure a longer shelf life. However, when you pasteurize beer, you destroy the natural yeast and enzymes that are present, and thus reducing the natural probiotic benefits in beer. You also lose most of the B vitamins from the yeast. Unpasteurized beer is “live” beer that contains living microorganisms. That is why drinking unfiltered, unpasteurized or sour beers may be the healthiest immune-boosting beers because of the live bacteria.
If you are gluten intolerant like me, can you enjoy your daily brew? Yes! Brewers have begun using gluten-free bases in their beer, such as rice, millet, buckwheat or sorghum (brewers normally use barley and wheat). Even if a brewer uses ingredients containing gluten, like barley and rye, he can reduce the level of gluten to below 20 parts per million and still label it as a gluten-free beer. In France and worldwide, you can find even chestnut or hemp beer.
The last, but very important point is buying organic. Evidently, the ingredients used to make organic beer must be grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, using chemical-free soil and no genetically modified ingredients. In France, organic beers started to be on the market from the 90s. Find below my favorite choices. For the folks worldwide, find an organic local or national brewery and taste the beers. Or head to a local beer festival where you can try samples and then order online.
My favorite choices:
Local beer Forcalquier: http://www.iterumsities.com/
All the organic microbreweries in France: http://www.marque-alcool.com/marques_biere-bio-france.html