The New Stuff

The Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

MADRID, Spain ---- The next time you want to do something healthy for your body, grab an ice cold beer. Researchers in Spain say moderate beer drinking is not only healthy; it can also reduce the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure and has even helped people lose weight.

Spanish doctors say combining ale or lager with exercise and a healthy Mediterranean diet of fish, fruit and vegetables and olive oil can have tremendous health benefits.

"Moderate beer consumption is associated with nutritional and health benefits," Dr. Ramon Estruch, the lead researcher, said.

Because beer contains folic acid, vitamins, iron and calcium, researchers say drinking a beer has the same health benefits as drinking a glass of wine.

"It does not necessarily mean weight gain since it has no fat and calorie content is low," Estruch said.

He contrasted the culture of drinking small glasses of beer with healthy foods in Spain to binge drinking in Britain.

"Beer drinkers here do not resemble Britons, who drink large quantities, almost without moving from one spot, while eating chips and sausages," he said.

During a recent study of 1,249 men and women over 57 years old, researchers discovered those who consumed modest amounts of beer were less likely to suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure, they also had a lower body fat content.

Those eating a Mediterranean-style diet who drank up to a pint of beer a day "not only did not put on weight, but in some cases even lost weight," Estruch said. 

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