Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who Says Beer Is Bad For You

From the Toronto Star

Beer helps build better bones and could help ward off osteoporosis in aging men and women, a California study has found.
After testing 100 commercial beers and brewing some of their own, food science researchers at the University of California at Davis can confirm, “Beer is a very rich source of silicon” but not all beers are created equal.
The average diet provides from 20 to 25 milligrams of silicon a day, the researchers said. Other studies contend that people, particularly older people, need twice that to keep their skin elastic and their bones, teeth and gums strong.
Beer could be the answer, the study reports. “Beer is a very rich source of silicon,” said lead author Charles Bamforth of the Department of Food Sciences and Technology
Best of the bunch was India Pale Ale, with a higher content of malt and hops and therefore more silicon. “Wheat-based beers contain less silicon, which seems to be related to the lower levels of silicon in wheat malt.”
Light beers contained even less silicon because of their corn content, he said.
“The darker products, such as the chocolate, roasted barley and black malt all have substantial roasting and much lower silicon contents than the other malts, for reasons that are not yet known,” said Bamforth.
Two litres a day of one of high-silicon beer would provide someone with their daily dose of silicon, the study said.
The study is the first to test a wide range of beers and measure how the brewing process affected silicon content. The silicon levels in the beers ranged from 6.4 to 56.5 milligrams per litre.
In addition to the 100 commercial beers bought from a local grocery store, the testers brewed three of their own. The conclusion: “The husk of the barley is rich in” silicon. “Most of the silicon remains in the husk during brewing” regardless of the method.
Beer and bananas are the major source of silicon for British men, who took in 10 milligrams more a day than women, a separate study had found. For British women, the major food sources are bananas and string beans.
An alternative to a litre or so of beer a day would be a cup of granola (25 milligrams of silicon), oat bran (47 mg) or porridge (24 mg). Dates, multi-grain bread, carrots, green beans, bananas and raisins are also high in silicon.

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