It’s mid-March. The weather is turning warmer, the spring flowers are beginning to appear and our thoughts turn to all things green. Yes, it’s almost St. Patrick’s Day, that wonderful time of year when everything turns green, from the Chicago River to our beer. Everyone has a little bit of the Irish in them at this time of year. The question is; if you are conscious of your health, just how many of those green beers should you consume – if any?
The good news is that moderate drinking (defined as 1 or 2 12-oz. beers per day) has been reported to be good for the heart and circulatory system, lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease including stroke and heart attack. The moderate consumption of alcohol also potentially protects against type 2 diabetes and gallstones. Besides that, we’ve all heard the popular quote attributed to Ben Franklin that says, “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!”
The health conscious of us will still be trying to decide on the best option when choosing a beer. That decision depends on your personal preferences. Different brews have various health benefits depending on ingredients and brewing method. Check out this article from livestrong.com for some guidance on choosing the best brew for you. You can also read more about healthier beer options in this article from USA Today.
Certainly I’m not promoting beer as a health tonic or suggesting that non-drinkers start hitting the bottle. Heavy drinking can damage the liver and heart, increase the chances of developing breast and some other cancers, and contribute to depression in some people. Drinking alcohol also alters your blood pH which can affect your body’s metabolism.
That being said, I believe in balance and moderation. If you are not an alcoholic or have other serious health issues, go ahead and hoist a green beer or two.
May the road rise to meet you, May the wind be always at your back, and May you enjoy a cold brew every now and then.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!