Beer delivers health benefits

October is here and that means one thing for this community: Oktoberfest! Believe it or not there are actually a few health benefits of drinking beer in moderation. Because beer is made using the plant sources barley and hops, it contains a considerable amount of nutrition; however, the brewing process, ingredients and proportions used can all influence the nutritional content of each beverage.

Calories and Macronutrients – Beer provides fewer calories per ounce than wine and contains both protein and carbohydrates (protein 4% of total calories; carbohydrates one-third of total calories).

  • Vitamins and Minerals – One 12-ounce regular beer contributes a line-up of B-vitamins. The mineral composition of beer (potassium, magnesium and phosphorus) is equal to that of wine; however, beer also contains selenium and silicon. Selenium aids in the protection against cancer and heart disease. Silicon works to strengthen the connective tissue between bones.

Antioxidants – Like wine, beer also provides health protective phytonutrients called polyphenols, which help defend against cancer.

Dark beers typically have the most antioxidants and higher iron content when compared to light beers.

Microbrews have more hops and polyphenols that can play a role in lowering cholesterol.

The antioxidant content of beer and wine are fairly equal but get their antioxidants from different sources. Wine gets the antioxidant content from grapes, while beer’s antioxidants come from the barley and hops.

Moderate intake of any alcoholic beverage (defined as one 12-ounce alcoholic beverage for women daily, two for men) has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clotting. Beer has been associated with lowering the risk of kidney stones in men, possibly due to beer’s high water content and diuretic effect. In addition, substances in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones.

Even if you are not a fan of beer, it is a great way to add flavor to cooking to celebrate this year’s Oktoberfest. Try this marinate for a new twist on your meat entrees:

Lemon-Beer Marinade for Chicken, Beef or Fish

All you need:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 (12 ounce) bottle beer

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 orange

1 lemon

1 lime

cup teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon tarragon

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

All you do:

1. Heat olive oil in skillet and saut garlic and green onions until translucent. Add beer, brown sugar, juice from 1 orange, juice from 1 lemon, juice from1 lime and teriyaki sauce.

2. Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside to cool before using. Add fresh tarragon and parsley before brushing on meat.

3. For chicken, marinate meat for about 45 minutes. Marinate beef for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and fish for about 20 minutes.

4. Grill meat until recommended internal temperature is reached and enjoy.

The information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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