As serious runners, we don’t have to give up drinking to stay fit. In fact, the occasional beer will actually do you good. A pint a day is enough for you to benefit from its health giving properties.
We all know that red wine contains heart healthy antioxidants, but beer can be just as good for you. Go for darker beers as they contain three times the flavonoids of the lighter beers such as lager. The antioxidants attack the free radicals that are produced when we exercise and help our arteries to dilate and stay flexible, so allowing them to carry more blood when it is needed.
One of the four main ingredients of beer is hops, which have been used for hundreds of years to treat digestive complaints. Beer actually opens obstructions of the spleen and the liver, it cleanses the blood, loosens the stomach and provokes urine. The malt in a pint of beer actually provides you with up to 20 % of your recommended daily intake of fibre, and protects against kidney stones, stomach ulcers and diabetes.
Don’t forget too, that beer is made up of over 90 % water, so beer has a relatively low alcohol content compared with wines and spirits, and has no fat or cholesterol. The water is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and just one pint of beer will give you more than 20 % of your recommended daily intake of B vitamins. Large amounts of sodium are the perfect balance for low blood pressure and silicon protects against osteoporosis.
So, which beer ? Well, ultra lows such as Michelob and Miller Lite are both very low in carbs and calories. All beers brewed in Germany must comply with a 1516 law banning anything other than barley, malt, hops yeast and water from the brewing process. You can be sure that they are totally free of additives. There are also many small breweries that use quality ingredients to create unusual and real ale beers.
And then of course there is Guinness, with fewer calories, in fact, less than 200 calories a pint compared with some lagers at over 300 calories a pint. Guinness has less calories than orange juice or skimmed milk. Guinness really is good for you. It is actually prescribed by some doctors, in post operative care. It has a low alcohol content of 4.3 %. The dark ruby colour means it has twice the blood-clot fighting flavonoids of lager, and higher concentrations of B vitamins, potassium and antioxidants.
So, a swift half anybody ? – then we can go and have a beer.