Milk has a long standing, celebrity-studded ad campaign, and in the alcoholic beverage realm, red wine has been stealing the spotlight as of late. However, new research is encouraging women to root for the health world underdog: beer.
A new study lead by Professor Jonathan Powell at Cambridge University is revealing that beer may be the secret weapon in protecting women against osteoporosis. While alcohol contains ethanol, which prevents bone loss, beer in particular is a major source of dietary silicon as absorbable orthosilicic acid, which encourages the growth of new bone. The combination of these two punches in a pint may help women battle the falling oestrogen levels and bone deterioration that accompany the aging process.
While previous studies have already pointed to a significant correlation between an individual's dietary silicon intake and bone mineral density, Powell’s latest research shows that beer is the frontrunner of foodstuffs in terms of silicon absorption rate. A third of our recommended intake of silicon (roughly 8 mcg) can be found in one pint of beer. How is the after-work and game-time indulgence beating out plants and beans? According to Powell, "As a population, we used to get some of our silicon from grain and cereals, but as our food is much more processed today, this is now a lot less. Water also has a certain amount, but the purification process has reduced that as well."
Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide, and an osteoporotic fracture is estimated to occur every three seconds. Fill Powell’s prescription by opting real ale over lagers, as ale is less processed and refined, allowing for higher concentration of silicon. Dosage? Moderation is key. Powell tells the Daily Mail, "Pre-menopausal women would benefit from drinking a half-pint a day as a means of absorbing silicon, and post-menopausal women would benefit from a pint of beer a day."