BEER or RED WINE - Which is better for you?
With recent studies showing increasing health benefits of beer, a lot of people must be wondering which is better for you - beer or red wine. Red wine has been very popular the last few years since studies reveal that red wine reduces the risks of heart disease and prevent stroke, lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, good for the brain; plus, red wine being made from red grapes, is rich with antioxidants that may possibly prevent cancer. So does that mean red wine is better for you?
However these days, the beer chuggers are high-fiving (or should I say chest bumping) each other celebrating the fact that new studies indicate that beer is also a nutritious drink, even better than red wine. Beer is made from hops, barley and wheat, so the beverage contains many of the same nutrients that grains do, including B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin and zinc. A bottle of beer can contain 92 mg of potassium, 14 mg of calcium and 48 mg of phosphorus, all minerals that are essential to a healthy diet. Beer has been found to also reduce the risk of heart disease, helps prevent cancer, and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, and can even reduce weight gain. And the big plus is, beer is also a source of soluble fibre, which comes from the barley. So does that mean beer is better for you?
Beer and red wine both seem to bring lots of health benefits on the table. So which one is better for you? Beer or Red Wine.
So, let's do a beer and red wine comparison, shall we?
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When it comes to your heart, which is better for you - beer or wine?
BEER - Studies indicate that moderate amount of beer consumption (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) boosts the level of “good cholesterol” by 10-20% thus reducing the risk of coronary diseases. Beer contains vitamin B6 which protects against heart diseases by preventing the build-up of a compound called homocysteine. Beer has a thinning effect on blood and prevents formation of clots, which cause blocks in coronary arteries. Moderate beer consumption also reduces the risk of inflammation, the cause for atheroscleros.
RED WINE - Many studies show that moderate amount of red wine (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) lowers the risk of heart attack for people in middle age by 30 - 50%, and prevent additional heart attacks for those who already had heart attack and the occurrence of strokes. Grape skin and seeds contain chemical compounds called polyphenols (such as resveratrol), which are natural antioxidants. Resveratrol, found in grape skins and seeds, increases HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol) and prevent blood clotting. Flavonoids, on the other hand, exhibit antioxidant properties helping prevent blood clots and plaques formation in arteries. In addition, the procyanidins in the wine helps lower blood pressure levels, cholesterol levels and also reduces risks of atherosclerosis.
So, when it comes to the heart, both beer and red wine when taken in moderation (one drink a day for women and 2 drinks for men), are good for you! However, red wine is better in lowering the risk of heart attack for people in middle age (wine = 30-50%, beer=10-20%).
When it comes to fighting Cancer, which is better for you - beer or red wine?
BEER - According to a new study by Oregon State University researchers, a chief ingredient in beer shows potent promise in preventing prostate cancer and prostate enlargement.
The research, published in a recent issue of Cancer Letters , shows that xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, inhibits NF-kappaB protein in cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a signal switch that turns on a variety of animal and human malignancies, including prostate cancer.
Xanthohumol, which can only be found in beer, can also trigger programmed cell death, which plays a role in cancer prevention, as uncontrolled cell reproduction is a cause of cancer.
However, xanthohumol is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to consume the same amount found effective in the study.
RED WINE - Red wine, on the other hand, is a rich source of biologically active phytochemicals, chemicals found in plants. Particular compounds called polyphenols found in red wine - such as catechins and resveratrol - are thought to have antioxidant or anticancer properties.
A study published in The January 2005 Issue of the International Journal of Cancer, suggest that consumption of red wine may be associated with a reduction in the relative risk of prostate cancer, especially more aggressive forms of the disease. Consumption of 8 glasses or more of red wine per week significantly reduced the relative risk of more aggressive prostate cancer by 61%. For less aggressive prostate, the reduction in relative risk was 32%.
In addition, Rochester researchers showed for the first time that a natural antioxidant found in grape skins and red wine can help destroy pancreatic cancer cells by reaching to the cell's core energy source, or mitochondria, and crippling its function.
I hate to burst the beer chuggers' bubble on this one, but to drink 17 beers a day to get the benefit of xanthohumol in cancer prevention, is just ridiculous. So, when it comes to fighting Cancer, the red wine (not white) is better for you.
Please note, however, that alcohol, in general, increases the risk of breast cancer. And it is interesting to note that studies show, women are more afraid of breast cancer than heart disease.
When it comes to your Brain, which is better for you? Beer or Wine
BEER - Beer consumption boosts the level of “good cholesterol” by 10-20% thus reducing the risk of dementia. Beer is also rich in Vitamin B12 which is essential for maintaining good memory and concentration.
RED WINE - On the other hand, research studies have revealed that red wine when consumed in moderation lowers the risk of Alzheimer's disease or dementia incidence. The antioxidants present in grapes help destroy harmful free radicals and in turn slow down the aging process. In a test, including testing memory, intelligence, verbal and mathematical skills, conducted, people who drank red wine in moderation scored higher than people who refrained from red wine.
Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital analyzed data from 12,480 women age 70 to 81 who participated in the Nurses’ Health Study beginning in 1980. The research shows that women who consume alcohol moderately on a daily basis are about 20% less likely than abstainers to experience poor memory and decreased thinking abilities. The senior author of the study explains that "Women who consistently were drinking about one-half to one drink per day had both less cognitive impairment as well as less decline in their cognitive function compared to women who didn't drink at all."
Both beer and red wine when consumed in moderation help prevent dementia and improve memory and concentration. Alcohol in general reduce the risk of dementia among the elderly.
When it comes to your liver, which is better for you? Beer or Red Wine
BEER - Repeated studies have linked heavy drinking of alcoholic beverages to liver diseases. This is as true of beer as it is of wine and hard liquor, such as whiskey or gin. What places a person at risk of alcohol-induced liver disease is the amount, not the type, of alcohol consumed.
RED WINE - However, UC San Diego School of Medicine researchers released a study that said modest wine consumption, such as one glass of wine a day may not only be safe for the liver, but also reduces the risk of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
Studies show that drinking beer and red wine in moderation (one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men) could be beneficial to your health. One of the most common harmful effects of alcohol is on the liver, the organ that removes toxins from the body.
To protect your liver, allow your liver to recover by not drinking alcohol every day.
Also, consider taking nutritional supplements that contain herbs and nutrients that help keep the liver healthy. These supplement may contain milk thistle extract, curcumin, gotu kola, schizandra berry, and other liver-friendly herbs clinically shown to help rid the liver of toxins and improve liver functions.
For your Skin, which is better for you - Beer or Red Wine?
BEER - Beer increases the potency of vitamin E which is a major antioxidant in the body, apart from being vital in maintenance of healthy skin.
There are also interesting reasons for the topical application of beer. In ancient Egypt, long considered the birthplace of beer, women of the upper classes used beer for all sorts of cosmetic and therapeutic purposes, such as to freshen the skin and reduce the risk of skin conditions. 4,000 years later, scientific studies have confirmed that beer sediment (brewer’s yeast) can help improve the symptoms of acne by slowing down sebum production and killing off the bacteria that triggers acne. This component of beer, an inactive yeast that no longer has leavening power, helps maintain a balanced pH level in the skin.
RED WINE - Red grapes are rich in flavonoids, which is great for skin health. Thus, red wine made from red grapes also has positive effects on the skin. Moreover, resveratrol in the grapes reduce the pace of aging in the body. It overcomes wrinkles and leaves the skin looking fresh, supple and young.
According to a research conducted by Konrad Howitz and a group of scientists from Harvard Medical School and Biomol, United States, it was revealed that "resveratrol can maintain the fitness of cells in the body 70 percent longer." Since a decade ago, red wine has been used in beauty treatments such as red wine treatments called vinotherapy in spas of Europe.
Well, it seems that both beer and wine have natural benefits including topical cure for skin conditions. Isn't that interesting?
When it comes to your Bones, which is better for you - beer or red wine?
BEER - Moderate beer consumption is shown to increase bone density, preventing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. Beer contains silicon, which has been shown to promote bone health.
RED WINE - Red wine is rich in phytochemicals which may benefit your bones.
Katherine Tucker, PhD, tells WebMD that findings from a study of more than 2,900 women and men suggest that "beer and wine really do have some nutritional value." She says beer may benefit bones because it contains silicon, which has been shown to promote bone health. She says wine is rich in phytochemicals, which also may benefit bones. Tucker is a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts University in Boston.
Both beer and wine can help your bones which may prevent fractures and osteoporosis.
Which is better for your Digestive System? Beer or Red Wine
BEER - Beer is a source of soluble fiber which is derived from the cell walls of malted barley. A liter of beer contains an average of 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber and some beers can provide up to 60%. Beer is shown to possess a number of digestive properties, which include stimulation of gastrin, gastric acid, cholecystokinin and pancreatic enzymes.
RED WINE - Red wine aids in the production and flow of gastric juices. This facilitates digestion by breaking down the food in the stomach quickly and effectively. For many, after the age of 50 our bodies do not produce enough hydrochloric acid that are needed for digestion. So, many doctors have suggested a glass of wine with a meal.
Both beer and red wine are good for your digestive system. But I must admit that beer, being a good source of soluble fiber, has a definite edge over wine on this one.
Which has Anti-aging properties - Beer or Red Wine?
BEER - Beer increases the potency of vitamin E which is a major antioxidant in the body, apart from being vital in maintenance of healthy skin, and mitigates the ageing process.
RED WINE - The red wine anti-aging benefits have been recognized for quite some time. When consumed in moderation, 1 glass of red wine per day, the antioxidants and flavonoids present in the red wine provide anti-aging benefits to the body. Antioxidants have long been recognized as the healthy way to fight free radical damage in the body.
Both beer and red wine provide anti-aging benefits. We can enjoy our drink and look younger too. Isn't that wonderful?
Can Beer help prevent anaemia?
YES - Beer is a good source of vitamin B12 and folic acid, the deficiency of which may lead to anaemia.
Can Beer help manage Type 2 diabetes?
MAYBE - Studies have linked moderate beer consumption to lower prevalence of type 2 diabetes.
However, according to a study by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, women with type 2 diabetes who drank relatively small amounts of alcohol had a lower heart-disease risk than those who abstained. A second study found that men with diabetes had the same reduction in heart risk with a moderate alcohol intake as non-diabetic men.
Can Beer reduce the risk for developing gallstones?
YES - Regular consumption of moderate levels of beer affects the cholesterol levels and decreases bile concentration leading to reduced risk for development of gallstones.
Can Beer reduce the risk of kidney stones?
YES - Beer is high in potassium and low in sodium. Beer is also a rich source of magnesium which results in reduced risk of kidney stones.
Can Beer help lower levels of blood pressure?
YES - Regular beer drinkers have been found to have lower levels of blood pressure, compared to people consuming similar amount of wine or other spirits.
Can Beer help reduce stress?
YES - Beer is a good stress buster. Studies show drinking small amounts (1 drink or so) can actually reduce stress, and facilitates sleep.
Can Beer increase removal of toxic and waste out of the body?
YES - Beer acts as a diuretic, increasing urination. This in turn facilitates increased removal of toxic and waste materials out of the body.
Can Beer promotes general health?
YES - Beer is a good source of soluble fibers which promotes general health apart from being good for heart as it results in cleansing of the digestive tracts.
Can Wine help prevent anaemia?
YES - Most of us are aware that lack of iron can cause anaemia. Alcohol (in moderate quantities) can also help promote iron absorption.
Can Red Wine help manage Type 2 Diabetes?
YES - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have shown that red wine and tea may hold promise for regulating the blood sugar of people with type 2 diabetes. “Red wine and tea contain natural antioxidants that may slow the passage of glucose through the small intestine and eventually into the bloodstream and prevent this spike, which is an important step in managing this disease.”
Can Red Wine reduce the risk for developing gallstones?
YES - A new study holds that a glass or two of red wine each day may help prevent gallstone formation. The findings were presented in May at the Digestive Disease Week 2009 conference in Chicago, by Dr. Andrew Hart of the University of East Anglia's school of medicine (located in Norwich, U.K.).
Can Red Wine reduce the risk of kidney stones?
YES - Potassium in red wine prevents kidney stones.
Can Red Wine help lower levels of blood pressure?
YES - The procyanidins in the wine helps lower blood pressure levels.
Can Red Wine help reduce stress?
YES - Red wine, like other alcohols, is shown to reduce stress, and facilitates sleep. Studies show drinking small amounts (1 drink or so) can actually reduce stress.
Can Red Wine increase removal of toxic and waste out of the body?
YES - Red wine is diuretic in nature thus increases urination. This in turn facilitates increased removal of toxic and waste materials out of the body.
Can Red Wine promotes general health?
YES - There is plenty of evidence to suggest that red wine is good for our general health. Wine drinkers are less prone to depression than abstainers, less likely to suffer from anxiety and are more likely to have better social skills.
- Both beer and red wine are good for your heart.
- Both beer and red wine help fight some cancer.
- Both beer and red wine are good for your brain.
- Both beer and red wine are good for your skin.
- Both beer and red wine are good for your bones.
- Both beer and red wine help your digestive system.
- Both beer and red wine have anti-aging properties.
- Both beer and red wine can help prevent anemia.
- Both beer and red wine may help manage type 2 diabetes.
- Both beer and red wine may reduce the risk of developing gallstones.
- Both beer and red wine may reduce the risk of kidney stones.
- Both beer and red wine may help lower levels of blood pressure.
- Both beer and red wine can help reduce stress.
- Both beer and red wine are diuretic.
- Both beer and red wine promotes general health
Based on the above health benefits of beer and wine, it seems that, when taken in moderation, beer is almost as good as red wine. I said almost, but not quite. After all, red wine is richer in antioxidants which are very important to our overall health. However, beer is also a source of soluble fiber which is derived from the cell walls of malted barley. A liter of beer contains an average of 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber and some beers can provide up to 60%. As well as aiding healthy bowel function (Yay!), this has further benefits by slowing down the digestion and absorption of food (which helps in weight loss) and reducing cholesterol levels (which may help to reduce the risk of heart disease).
In addition, both beer and red wine are cholesterol free and fat free.
So, it is safe to say that when consumed in moderation, both beer and red wine are good for you.
Now for the bad news...
Both beer and wine contain alcohol. Surprise, surprise!
Alcohol consumption is associated with serious risks. Drinking too much alcohol contributes to accidents and injuries and can lead to liver disease, certain types of stroke, high blood pressure, various cancers, and birth defects, among other health problems. Thus, understanding the possible risks and benefits of alcohol is essential to make an informed decision about alcohol use.
The secret in drinking alcohol is moderation. Ok, it's not a secret, but a lot of people seem to forget about it after the first drink. It's so easy to have another drink after the first one. Do you know why?
Christina Gianoulakis, a professor in the department of psychiatry and physiology at McGill University in Montreal, has found that endorphins, the so-called feel-good hormones, are released after a drink or two. So after the first drink, we are feeling good and so when the waiter asks "Can I get you another round?" What is there to say?
However by contrast, Gianoulakis' research found that high amounts of booze stimulate areas in the brain associated with anxiety and depression.
Drinking in moderation
There are so many good things about drinking alcohol in moderation. Moderate drinkers of alcoholic beverages such as beer, wine and distilled spirits or liquor, tend to have better health and live longer than those who are either abstainers or heavy drinkers. Seriously! In addition, moderate drinkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, and are generally less likely to suffer strokes, diabetes, arthritis, enlarged prostate, dementia (including Altzheimer's disease), and several major cancers.
Now, the question is - what does it mean by drinking in moderation?
The definition of moderate drinking has always been a subject of contention. Moderate drinking sits at the point at which the health benefits of alcohol clearly outweigh the risks.
The latest consensus places this point at
- no more than one to two drinks per day for men, and
- no more than one drink per day for women.
This is the definition used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and is widely used in the United States.
How much is one drink?
It is difficult to ascertain what constitutes "a drink." In fact, even among alcohol researchers, there's no universally accepted standard drink definition.
Alcoholic drinks come in multiple forms and contain differing amounts of pure alcohol (ethanol); one portion of alcohol is defined as approximately 12 to 14 grams of ethanol.
In the U.S., one drink is usually considered to be:
- One 12 ounce bottle or can of beer
- One 5 ounce serving of wine
- One shot (1.5 ounces) of 80-proof distilled spirits
In general, studies that evaluate the health effects of alcohol is based upon the number of drinks consumed per day or week and described as follows:
- Heavy drinking refers to consuming more than 48 grams of alcohol (the equivalent of four drinks) a day.
- Moderate drinking refers to no more than one drink per day for women and no more than one to two drinks per day for men.
- Light drinking is 1 to 2 servings of alcohol per week.
Calories in Beer and Red Wine
- One regular 12-ounce beer has 13 grams of carbohydrate and 150 calories;
- a 12-ounce light beer has 5 carb grams and 100 calories.