On average, Germans consumed more than 105 liters of beer per capita in 2015. The Greek philosopher Plutarch already appreciated the barley juice: "Beer is the most useful drink among the drinks, the tastiest among the herbs and the most pleasant among the foods." Whether beer is actually so healthy and what is also in the drink, we reveal in this article.
What's in the beer?
That beer has healthy ingredients is not new. It is made from only four ingredients:
Only these four ingredients form the composition of German beer, which is brewed today with the same ingredients as almost 500 years ago (purity requirement of 1516).
In other countries occasionally spices, fruits and herbs are added to refine the taste. In Germany, however, such mixtures must be labeled as a beer mix drink.
Hops as a remedy
From a health point of view perhaps the most important component of beer is hops. Hops belong to the hemp plants and came about in the 8th century to Central Europe.
The female fruit stands of the tough creeper are also used as a medicine. They contain a resin with valuable bitter substances and essential oil - these ingredients not only add spice, durability and foam to the beer; They also help with loss of appetite, stomach weakness and restlessness.
Hops generally have a calming effect but stimulate the metabolism.
The real hops were even named medicinal plant of the year in 2007. The effect of hops is better in a freshly brewed hops tea than in a cold beer.
Other healthy ingredients in beer
According to the German Brewing Society, beer contains all B vitamins - mainly because of the malt.
In particular, the vitamins B2 (riboflavin), B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B5 (panthenolic acid) and vitamin B3 (niacin), which are so important for the metabolism, are abundant in beer.
The buried yeast also contains a lot of folic acid and biotin, which are necessary for blood formation and cell renewal. In addition, beer provides important antioxidants that protect us from cell damage. Beer is therefore considered in some circles as a miracle cure for healthy skin and beautiful hair.
As a mineral substance in beer, phosphoric acid is important in terms of nutritional physiology because it is a component of the vital cell building blocks. Beer also contains potassium - this helps, among other things, the elimination of sodium. In addition, the drink contains magnesium, is practically fat and completely cholesterol-free.
By removing fats during processing, however, the fat-soluble vitamins are lost. In addition, the water-soluble vitamin C is destroyed during production, which is usually abundant in barley and malt.
In the following, we briefly summarized the positive ingredients of beer for you:
- B vitamins (especially B2, B3, B5, B6, biotin and folic acid)
- phosphoric acid
Health risks of beer consumption
Even though the favorite alcoholic beverage of the Germans has surprisingly many healthy ingredients, the consumption of beer has some disadvantages for the health:
- Carbonic acid, combined with the irritant effect of alcohol, can cause increased heartburn and gastritis.
- In addition to culinary delights such as cheese, chocolate and red wine, beer is also suspected to be a frequent trigger for migraine attacks.
- Beer should also increase the risk of diabetes, gout, heart attacks and liver cirrhosis.
- According to a study by the American Institute for Cancer Research, regular consumption of a small amount of beer can permanently increase the risk of cancer.
- Another effect of the frequent enjoyment of beer is that alcohol in beer, especially in men, can lead to faster fat accumulation on the belly. The cause of this is usually a liver congestion, ie a congestion with tissue changes in the liver, which is also considered the first sign of liver inflammation.
In addition, beer and alcohol in general should not be taken with medication at the same time. These include antibiotics and over-the-counter remedies for allergies as well as painkillers and sedatives.
Speaking of alcohol in beer
Alcohol preserves the beer and is definitely calorie-containing. For example, anyone who drinks two liters of beer consumes the calorie count of ten bread rolls.
As a low-calorie alternative offers alcohol-free beer. By comparison, a 0.5 liter glass of non-alcoholic beer has about 130 kilocalories, while a glass of alcoholic beer has about 210 kilocalories. Non-alcoholic beer is produced with the help of specialty yeasts or when the fermentation process is interrupted - whereby non-alcoholic means that there is still an alcohol content of up to 0.5 per thousand.
In another method for producing the soft drink, the beer is removed from the beer by dialysis in a kind of dialysis by evaporation - here the taste loss is the least.
Since 2008, there are also beers with an alcohol content of 0.0 percent to buy. These have even fewer calories than diet beer, which is mainly produced for diabetics and contains less sugar than regular beer.
Malt beer as an alternative to pils and wheat
Malt beer is also a popular alternative to the alcoholic beer beverage. Malt beer contains only about 0.5 percent alcohol, since its production stops the fermentation process. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to offer malt beer to children, as it could accustom the minors to the taste of beer.
In terms of calories, malt beer is around 235 kilocalories per 0.5 liters, also because sugar is often added.
Beer as an introduction to alcoholism
Conventional beer can be highly addictive despite its relatively low alcohol content. Anyone who drinks a beer every evening for an extended period of time may already run the risk of becoming an alcoholic.
Regular consumption is not a conspicuous behavior, especially with socially recognized beer drinking. That is why alcoholism is often recognized very late or not at all due to beer consumption. Beer can be a particular health hazard in this regard.
Non-alcoholic wheat beer as an isotonic sports drink
Since sweating deprives the body of fluid and minerals, the high water content in beer can not only quench your thirst, but also provide important nutrients and minerals and vitamins.
Beer also stimulates the lung activity in athletes, so the oxygen can be better absorbed by the body.
Beer should not be drunk primarily as a water substitute. Since it acts diuretic (diuretic), beer can even boost the bladder and kidney activity and thus lead to the elimination of too much fluid.
Conclusion: is beer healthy?
As with many things, the same applies to beer: the dose makes the poison.
The occasional enjoyment of beer can give us an extra boost of vitamins and minerals, which are very important for our well-being - but which are also included in fruits and vegetables. Excessive consumption of beer can, however, have a significant negative impact on the body and promote diseases such as cancer or liver inflammation.
Those who value the taste of a cold beer should try to use the numerous alcohol-free options every now and then and can even save a few calories.