BY OYINKANSOLA ADEDOYIN
The second Nigerian Symposium on Beer and Lifestyle was hosted by the Nigerian Breweries at the Intercontinental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos recently. Guests dressed so well, you could mistake the rendezvous for a banking event, more so it popped off with breakfast at 9.00am.
The stature and pizzazz of self-confessed beer drinkers like Prof Emevwo Biakolo – former Dean, School of Media and Communication, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, Steve Ayorinde – Lagos State Commissioner for Information & Strategy, Mrs Dolapo Coker – nutrition consultant, Prof. Tola Atinmo – Professor of Human Nutrition, Department of Human Nutrition in College of Medicine of University of Ibadan, etc now makes it difficult to call beer drinkers irresponsible.
Health, nutrition and lifestyle experts led the beer talk and for the sake of beer Gulder ambassador Ebuka Obi-Uchendu; broadcaster and owner of Women’s Radio WFM 91.7, Mrs Toun Okewale-Sonaiya; Dr Kunle Hamilton – media trainer and CEO, Virgin Outdoor; medic Dr. Tobore Agbogidi; fashion designer Ohimai Atafo; Encomium magazine publisher Kunle Bakare, producer Tunde Babalola and Ms Abimbola Ajileye – Secretary, International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ondo chapter all spoke up for booze.
The beer talk was chaired by Prof. Biakolo, whose keynote speech dispelled three myths about beer to set the tone for the symposium.
Every speaker and panel discussant emphasized moderation and responsibility as the watch words of beer drinking. Food and nutrition scholar, Dr Henk F.J. Hendriks of Leiden University of The Netherlands titled his presentation, “Why moderate consumption of beer is beneficial for Cardio Vascular health.”
According to Hendricks, some of the inherent advantages of beer include: Low percentage of alcohol; large quantities of water; its role in rehydration; a good source of minerals; a good source of polyphenolic antioxidants; contains anti-inflammatory xanthohumoles; and a large variety of raw materials, including fibers.
Prof. Atinmo presented more “Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Consumption.” At least 12 benefits accrue from the beer experience, which started with breakfast followed by lunch and responsible rounds of beer and other beverages brewed by the Nigerian Breweries, sponsors of the event. They are:
1. Portion control: Beer is conveniently packaged in a portion-control can or bottle. It’s easy to limit it to one or at least keep track of how many you’ve had.
2. It’s rich in B vitamins: Beer is full of B vitamins from the yeast. Unfiltered beer is especially high in B3, B6 and folic acid (B9). B3 aids in cell repair and B6 eases PMS. Folic acid aids in colon cancer prevention.
3. It’s high in fiber: Beer contains fiber, which acts as a natural laxative. It also slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach, which means it suppresses appetite. So indulge in a beer, and know you’re preventing overeating.
4. Stress reduction: A beer a day keeps stress and heart attacks away. Moderate alcohol consumption can reduce stress and anxiety, known contributors of heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol reduces risk of dying of a heart attack and possibly reduces risk of strokes. “Moderate” is defined as up to 12 ounces per day for women and 24 ounces per day for men.
5. Beer drinkers are at lower risk of type-2 diabetes: Multiple studies have shown that beer drinkers had an approximately 30 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes than test subjects who abstained.
6. Beer drinkers have a lower risk of developing gallstones: Beer drinking is associated with a reduced risk for gallstones, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gallstones are made up of cholesterol, bile and other things that cause pain in the stomach.
7. It has anti-microbial properties: Hops, the bitter flowers used in brewing, are known to be antimicrobial, which could fight disease.
8. It’s good for your muscles: Muscles benefit from a substance in hops, which is found in beer, and it keeps muscles from deteriorating.
9. It’s high in silicon: Two beers a day could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2007 study at the University of Alcala in Spain. The research suggests a high intake of silicon limits aluminum absorption in the brain, which in turn could aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
10. Moderate beer consumption is good for bone density: Beer could keep bones strong. Researchers at Tufts University found a positive link between beer or wine consumption and hip-bone density. Heavy drinking, however, led to bone loss, according to the same study, so be conservative.
11. It can reduce the risk of heart disease: Incidences of heart disease for beer drinkers were lower than for wine or whiskey drinkers, studies show.
12. It’s a social lubricant: A beer can loosen you up a bit for a first date, a family gathering or a networking event. Alcohol can boost courage and chattiness, according to a University of Washington study.
COVER PHOTO: Dr Henk Hendriks, Prof. Emevwo Biakolo and Mr Nikolas Vervelde, CEO Nigerian Breweries Plc, for the sake of beer.