Stop wine-ing already! It’s beer that’s good for you

New research proves that it's beer, rather than wine, that's more beneficial to your health. Share this article

It may be time to put a cork in it about wine being healthy for you. Not that it's unhealthy for you, but rather, beer might be the drink of choice when it comes to nutritional value.

The science behind beer's nutrition
As published in the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, a team of researchers collaborated on a fun experiment to determine that beer is richer than wine when it comes to certain health aspects.

To conduct the study, Charles Bamforth, Ph. D., and Samuel Gambill, from the Department of Food Science and Technology, analyzed a number of beers to examine their content of high molecular weight and low molecular weight beta-linked glucan. In other words, they checked out properties of the brews that could translate to potential health benefits. 

NPR food blog Salt summarized that from this analysis, the group was able to find that the often-hoppy libations were chock full of vitamin B, phosphorus, folate and niacin. Further, high levels of protein, fiber and even prebiotics – which help with bacteria development in the stomach – were also discovered in the beers.

It's important to note that despite there being a wide array of beers on the market, these benefits seem to be ubiquitous whether you crack a Budweiser or a Lagunitas. The authors told NPR that craft beers hold little clout over the larger distributors in terms of health benefits, despite there being so much hype over smaller breweries. 

In terms of alcohol in general, researchers were able to confirm that beers had more of the aforementioned nutrients than wine. Traditionally, most studies boasted wine as the drink of choice when it came to walking the line between treating yourself and staying healthy – but it may take backseat to beer after this breakthrough.

Wine has been touted for its health benefits long before beer was making a splash.

How wine made a splash in health
In case you're unfamiliar with this notion, health experts have suggested that a glass of Pinot Noir or Merlot is good for the body. It's long since been considered a healing beverage, but it wasn't until recent years that it became a topic of serious discussion and investigation. Extensive amounts of research indicate that the sometimes-tannic substance can prolong your lifespan and ward off disease thanks to its components. 

Because wine is rich in antioxidants, it may prevent high cholesterol, artery damage and ultimately heart disease, as explained by the Mayo Clinic. Bottled varietals commanded attention when scientists discovered that they were heavy in polyphenols, antioxidants that may protect blood vessels in your heart. They're found in wine, but not other beverages, because polyphenols come from grapes.

Should you order bottomless beers?

"Of course, you shouldn't try to get as much beer or wine as you can get your hands on."

Of course, you shouldn't try to get as much beer or wine as you can get your hands on. Unlike raw nutrients, these particular ones are shrouded in other ingredients that simultaneously deteriorate your health. Regardless of the antioxidants, booze is booze – and it's not news that it's not good to drink a lot of it. 

You really shouldn't consume more than health experts advise. According to the American Heart Association, that means no more than one drink for women and two for men per day. Disobeying this suggestion could cause an array of short- and long-term health problems that span obesity, breast cancer, stroke and suicide. As each person's body may react different to these substances, the AHA advised a doctor's consultation to see if drinking is right for you. You're probably thinking, "Well, that's no fun," but don't worry. There are still cool aspects of these scientific findings. 

Planning the next bar hop
So long as you use the findings as more of loose guidelines when it comes to ordering a drink at a bar or shopping for a dinner accompaniment in the store, you'll be just fine. Resist the urge to drink an entire six-pack of beer or bottle of wine to increase your odds of reaping the benefits without developing a beer belly or health issue. 

If nothing else, you can impress your friends at happy hour next week by schooling them on some serious beer science. Next time someone brings up vintages, ABVs and terroir, you can contribute to the conversation by noting facts about prebiotics, vitamin B and stomach bacteria. Take that beer and wine snobs!  

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