Experts have said that moderate consumption of beer offers health and nutritional benefits including positive impact on cardiovascular health.
The experts spoke at a Beer and Lifestyle symposium in Lagos by Nigeria Breweries Plc in Lagos recently.
A biologist and a project leader at the Institute for Food and Nutrition in The Netherlands, Dr. Henk Hendricks, explained that moderate beer/alcohol is associated with lower risk for cardio-vascular disease and Type 2 Diabetes.
“Different studies indicate on the average, there is 20% reduced risk of suffering metabolic diseases namely cardio-vascular disease and Type 2 diabetes if you drink beer/alcohol in moderation.”
Hendricks revealed that beer is rich in fibre, contains low concentrations of alcohol, large quantities of water (90-92%); which explains its role in rehydration, a good source of minerals; polyphenol which contains anti-inflammatory properties, and a large number of additional ingredients that are associated with health.
Also speaking on the occasion, nutritionist, Mrs Dolapo Coker, said beer has over 90% water, is made from natural ingredients and is better as an alcoholic drink because it contains vitamins and minerals and offers benefit to drinkers including women.
“Certain vitamins in beer can regenerate the skin. Beer is rich in selenium, magnesium, zinc and Vitamin B. It can increase your Vitamin E level. Drinking beer in moderation can increase your vitamin level. Beer aids digestion. It reduces the risk of developing gallstone. Beer has calcium for healthier teeth and stronger bones, especially for menopausal women”.
Coker, however, warned pregnant and nursing women to steer clear of beer because they could pass the fluid to their babies, causing negative outcomes such birth defects and foetal alcohol syndrome.
A foremost nutritionist, Prof Tola Atinwo of the University of Ibadan said that “over 100 studies in the past 30 years have confirmed positive cardiovascular effects of moderate alcohol consumption of one or two drinks per day.”
The Senior Strategy Manager, Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Tony Agenmomen, while stressing that moderate beer drinking offers some health benefits, listed strategies for moderate drinking including sipping rather gulping drinks, dancing and drinking, spacing drinks; alternating alcoholic drinks with water; avoiding drinking contests and learning to refuse drinks.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries, Mr. Nicholaas Vervelde, explained that the company having been encouraged by the outstanding success of the 2014 symposium said that it reinforced the commitment to improving the understanding of beer and its inherent benefits when consumed in moderation.
“Although, beer has been with us for thousands of years, the appreciation of its unique benefits is only beginning to grow. The knowledge about the benefits of moderate consumption of beer is multiplying every day with so many empirical research findings from all over the world,” he said, adding, “it is important to make the point that misuse of alcohol is not cool.”
BY UCHE AKOLISA