There are no shortages of “holidays” out there, and some of them are pretty far out of left field. I’ve written about a number of these before, and holidays surrounding beer are no exception. Today is International Beer Day, not to be mistaken for National Beer Day, which is celebrated on April 7th. Unlike the latter, the former was founded in 2007 and is celebrated on the first Friday of August. Since its creation, the holiday has come to be observed and celebrated in over 80 countries.
This particular holiday is intended to allow people to “unite” under the banner of beer and celebrate all the different brews offered around the globe. It’s observed by enjoying beer, buying rounds for those celebrating with you and acknowledging the people responsible for the creation of beer. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it might have been just another excuse for people to get together and slam back a few cold ones. But honestly, does one really need an excuse for that?
Both holidays were founded n the United States, but this one is kinda cool because it’s observed in many countries all over the world. In the interest of today’s most boozy of holidays, I thought I would re-share my post about beer facts from my National Beer Day post from last April. Here we go…
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.
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.
I’m lucky in the fact that the city I live in has a number of local breweries with their own specific blends of beer. Most of the dispensaries in the province sell a lot of these brews, so there’s a lot of opportunity to try some of them out. So if you have the opportunity to celebrate this holiday, as with all things in life, drink in moderation and be responsible if you happen to be out with friends (which you likely shouldn’t be, since social distancing regulations are still in place). ☯