Thank and Give your way to good health

thank you

It is easy to forget the reason for the Thanksgiving season, especially with Christmas right around the corner. The name of this holiday says it all… Give Thanks! Thanks for this great country and the land on which we live; thanks for those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom so that we could live well and prosper in this great nation; thanks to our ancestors who survived tough times in this country and lived on in spite of hardships; and thanks to the family and friends we have living today, whom we are sharing our day to day lives with, sharing our joys and our sorrows and who without we would not be whole.

It is too easy to get caught up in negative thoughts and let pessimism slip in. Blaming ourselves for unfavorable circumstance or dwelling on a silly mistake. My challenge to myself and to you this Thanksgiving is to focus on the positives in your day and lives and to recognize there is so much to be thankful for. Identify those things you are thankful for, the people that make it possible for you to live well every day. And thank your body! Our physical being is too often a target of personal criticism. Look at yourself in the mirror and thank your body for keeping you alive.

This Thanksgiving I challenge you to seek out humor, exercise your body, eat smartly, and surround yourself with positive thoughts.

Use this holiday as it was meant to be used. Family and friends gathering together: a time to relax, not stress, to enjoy, not tense, and to be thankful for all around us.

Here are a few more tips for a positive thanksgiving:

  1. It’s about the experience, not the food!
  2. Take small portions of those foods you really like or want to try and then savor them
  3. Use the time to socialize, eat slowly
  4. After dinner go on a walk or do another activity together as a group, keep up the energy!
  5. Spread the meal out, wait on desert and have it a few hours after dinner or after your activity

… And have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Beer

What is the story here? Do we receive any benefit from this delicious intoxicating beverage or is it just a devil in disguise?

I am personally happy, as a nutrition guru and lover of the microbrew, to tell you that indeed beer provides a solid nutritional profile. Let’s look at the main ingredients: Water, hops, grain, and yeast. Each of these brings its own chemical makeup to the table, or rather, glass.

beer3

Water is essential for life. We can’t live without H2O. We are 70% liquid. Beer, regardless of other properties, is 90% water. It hydrates! Body water transfers nutrients, removes wastes, lubricates joints and tissues and overall ensures our cells stay alive and well.

Hops have been shown to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, they were originally added to beer as a preservative; the bitter alpha acids protect the beer from bacterial growth. Hops also contain a number of different polyphenols, which are special chemicals that act as antioxidants. In short, antioxidants protect our bodies from unstable compounds (free radicals) that could otherwise damage or mutate our cells. In addition, hops may help to decrease calcium release from bones. Less calcium leaking into the blood plus beer’s hydration and diuretic effect, which clears body water, means less risk of excess minerals that may otherwise build up as deposits in organs, arteries and other soft tissues. Translating to bone health and kidney stone prevention!

Grains also provide polyphenols, as well as fiber, B vitamins and an array of various minerals. Many of these are retained in the liquid throughout the fermentation and distillation process. The most widely used grain for malting and fermentation is barley. Barley is especially high in silicon, a nutrient that helps form bones and connective tissue. Recent studies show high levels of silicon in beer, one of the main dietary sources of this nutrient, giving beer potential preventative properties against bone loss. One to two liters of beer will give you all the silicon you need for the day to assist in healthy bones and connective tissue. The hoppier and maltier the beer, the more silicon it will contain.

Yeast are live organisms, technically fungi, that eat the sugars from the grain malt to produce the ethanol, or alcohol, found in beer. The yeast may provide some flavor, but are otherwise disguised in your beverage without any clearly known stand-alone nutritional benefit. Yeast will provide some protein, B vitamins and chromium, among other nutrients, in trace amounts.

The ethanol yielded from the yeast is known to affect health. The combined effect of polyphenols and ethanol have shown positive changes to the lipids in our blood as well as decreases in inflammation. High density lipoprotein numbers have been shown to rise while low density lipoprotein oxidation decrease, both lessening the risk of cardiovascular disease. An observed decrease in platelet aggregation and coagulation factors from beer consumption also help decrease this risk. Ethanol itself has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity, meaning improved blood sugar regulation and decrease risk of diabetes.

There you have it. Some justification for your beer enjoyment. However…

…“they” say there is always a catch, so here is Beer’s; too much can kill you.  Quite literally. Quickly or slow and painfully. Drunken car accident or liver disease in 15 years. Either way if ever you are to follow the advice of moderation, drinking alcohol is a good time to do it.

All of the above positive benefits of beer are seen when consumed in moderation; one drink a day for women and two for men. More than this is a detriment to your health.

Ironically, the positive decreases in inflammation seen with moderate alcohol consumption is reversed when too much is consumed; ethanol metabolism decreases the production of antioxidants in the body, mainly glutathione, and will act as a free radical and potential carcinogen itself, in high doses.

Regardless of the ingredients to make it go down smooth and satisfying, alcohol is above all a toxin.

So, enjoy your beer in moderation and reap the nutritional, medicinal, and tasty benefits.

 beer 2

References:

Article: “Silicon in Beer and Brewing.” Troy R. Casey and Charles W. Bamforth. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture Published Online: February 8, 2010 (DOI: 10.1002/JSFA.3884); Print Issue Date: February 2010

Warner, Jennifer, Beer for Better Bones? WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/news/20100208/beer-for-better-bones

Ansel, Karen, Have a Brewski! It Can Help Your Health. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:  http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6442463947

Sewalish, Andrew, Hops: Anatomy and Chemistry 101 http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2009/sewalish_andr/Humulus%20Lupulus%20-%20Common%20Hops/Hop%20Anatomy%20and%20Chemistry%20101.html

Beer Advocate: http://beeradvocate.com/