This morning’s post was a bit short and I thought that was fine for a change, but it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t provide something longer to read. And here we are. Last year, I covered a number of different “holidays” in April and May that come around every year. You’ll notice the quotation marks, because these so-called holidays are generally not recognized and are just for fun.
Some of these are pretty weird (like National Ferret Day), but some are pretty interesting and decent (like National Siblings Day and Deep-dish Pizza Day). Although the majority of these come out of the United States, I can promise you that most of them are celebrated here in Canada as well; there’s no way in hell that Canadians WOULDN’T celebrate National Donut Day (that’s coming on June 5th, BTW).
But today is National Beer Day, and yes, it IS an American holiday but it’s well-observed in Canada as well. National Beer Day is celebrated on April 7th marking the day that the Cullen-Harrison Act was enacted after being signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. Although this didn’t mark the end of prohibition in the US, which took place later on in the year, it was the beginning of the end.
National Beer Day was created by an American named Justin Smith in 2009, who started the “holiday” as a Facebook page at the behest of his friends. Since then, it has become a recognized holiday by the Commonwealth of Virginia (where Smith is from). I checked Wikipedia for these facts, so take them for what you will: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Beer_Day_(United_States)
Beer holds a particular interest for me. And unlike the average consumer, I enjoy consuming it for the different flavours and different blends, as opposed to the intoxicating effects (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). I’m an odd duck in comparison to my counterparts in Canada, as I only start drinking beer when I was 23 years of age in Japan of all places, as opposed to early in my teens like most of my friends. This is mostly because of beer’s significant carb-count and effects on the waistline.
Depending on what history book you read, the first beer is thought to have been brewed by the Chinese almost 9,000 years ago. But beer as it’s brewed today (or close to it) is believed to have been started by the Mesopotamians around 3,500 to 3,100 BCE. Although some scholars think it may have been accidentally discovered when grains used for bread fermented, some postulated that not only was it brewed for its intoxicating effects but also as a dietary staple.
Regardless of who did it first, beer is here and most of us couldn’t be happier. And believe it or not, beer may have some particular health benefits in addition to being the beverage of choice for guitar-playing teens sitting by the fire on a beach. I found an article on a website called EverydayHealth.com, which lists 8 ways that beer is good for you. Here are the ways…
- Beer Fights Inflammation. The article suggests that some of the hops used in beer can contain bitter acids that help fight inflammation;
- Beer Aids Digestion. Those same bitter acids can also help with the release of stomach acids, essentially helping you to digest;
- Beer May prevent Some Cancers. Beer contains Lupulone and Xanthohumol, which have shown promise in fighting tumours. Most of these are just in the study phase;
- Beer Builds Bones. Beer contains silicone, which is said to be important for the building of strong bones. The article suggest India Pale Ale (my favourite) as the best source for this;
- Beer Is Heart-Healthy. A study in 2012 apparently links the consumption of one or two beer a day as beneficial for the prevention of heart issues, and the prevention of further issues in those who already have them;
- Beer “Polishes” Your Teeth. Beer apparently beats out tea and other methods of eliminating the biofilm that accumulates on your teeth if you haven’t brushed for a while, according to another study done in 2012 (were we all just drinking THAT much in 2012?);
- Beer Protects Brain Cells. A 2015 study from China describes some benefits in this regard. Finally, a study that WASN’T done in 2012;
- Beer Prevents Kidney Stones. Some studies have shown that consuming beer may help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Here’s that EverydayHealth page, should you want to get further details, and perhaps read some of the linked studies I mentioned above: https://www.everydayhealth.com/pictures/ways-beer-good-you/
So there you have it! Beer isn’t all bar fights and hangovers but can actually do some good for you. As with all things, the idea is moderation. Too much consumption can lead to the reversal of some of the benefits listed above, and can also include increased blood pressure and weight gain. So the idea isn’t to down a twelve-pack thinking you’ve found the secret to eternal life! And bear in mind that the average can of beer can be anywhere between 11 to 25 grams of carbohydrates, depending on the blend and size of container. So, know what you’re drinking and how to bolus accordingly.
Enjoy National Beer Day and treat yourself to a cold one! I’d say wait until 5 p.m. but believe it or not, that’s not an actual rule and is mainly a social norm because the majority of people end their work day at 5. So, if you’re sitting at home binge-watching your preferred streaming service and you have nothing else to do considering quarantine measures, enjoy a beer (in moderation). I miss going out for beers with my occasional beer buddies (you know who you are!) so hopefully the state of the world will change soon and we can get back to the norm. ☯