beerI am not a fan of beer. I do not drink it and I do not like it. I like cooking with it and it makes a delicious apple beignet but that is about it as far as I am concerned. But what if you do like it and enjoy drinking it? Are there any redeeming characteristics? Yes there are. It has been the focus of a number of studies and beer actually contains some very interesting health benefits. And now there is an environmental project that is providing even more benefits.

Historically beer was consumed with meals, which means it was used to aid digestion and this makes sense since it is a traditional fermented beverage. The hops in the beer helps stimulate gastric acids and pancreatic enzymes as well as calm spasms in the digestive tract.

Hops is used for flavouring the beer and research shows that hops is a natural sedative and is just as effective in non-alcoholic beer. This mean cooking with beer maintains the benefits as hops are heat stable. Hops is also an anti-inflammatory and is being study as a possible substitute for anti-inflammatory drugs.  Beer also contains lactoflavin and nicotinic acid which help to promote sleep.

Most people would suggest that drinking beer is not good for the kidneys but as alcoholic beverages go, beer is one of the best. According to a Finish study, beer helps reduce kidney stones by 40%.

Beer is a source of several B vitamins and a good source for B1, B2, B6 and B12. It is perhaps for this reason that researchers at the University of Montreal found that drinking 2 beers reduced feelings of stress and anxiety.  I bet there are plenty of beer drinkers who had already discovered this.

Beer may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, as it contains high amounts of silicon which helps prevent the uptake of aluminum into the body. Excess aluminum is considered one of the factors in the development of the disease. Silicon also contributes to the development of strong bones

Algae Iowa State UniversitySo if this is not enough, to make you feel good the next time you crack open a cold one, a new start-up operation is Boulder, Colorado, has found a way to make the production of beer more environmental. Like most manufacturing processes, beer creates CO2 gasses. The company, Superior Ecotech, created greenhouses on the top of craft beer plants to capture CO2 gasses in order to feed it to the algae, which is a source of Omega 3 oils. Their plan is to use the algae to create an Omega 3 supplement.

It just goes to show how truly marvelous innovation can be. Algae is already being studied as a source of biofuel and again carbon dioxide is being used to promote the growth of the algae. Although I have always been a fan of the health benefits of algae (and there are many), who knew pond scum would become a health and environmental star.

This process to put greenhouses on top of beer plants is designed for craft beer manufacturers. These are the small micro-breweries who specialize in the traditional fermentation methods for making beer. They are also the ones who are going to be Beef Stewproducing the beer with the best health benefits. Look for companies that do not pasteurize the beer for a true fermented product.

So if you are going to drink it, look for unpasteurized, craft beer. And if drinking beer is not your thing, then try cooking or baking with it. Here is a favourite recipe of mine and the first recipe I tried using beer: Beer Beef Stew


Nutrient Intake and Use of Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones among Male Smokers, Tero Hirvonen1, et al, Am. J. Epidemiol. (1999)   150  (2):  187-194

Influence of moderate beer consumption on aluminium toxico-kynetics: acute study. Peña A1, Meseguer I, González-Muñoz MJ.Nutr Hosp. 2007 May-Jun;22(3):371-6.

The Sedative Effect of Non-alcoholic Beer in Female Nurses, Lourdes Franco et all, PLoS One 2012 7(7) e37290

Hop bitter acids efficiently block inflammation independent of GRalpha, PPARalpha, or PPARgamma, Van Cleemput M1 et al,  Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 Sep;53(9):1143-55. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200800493