Enjoying Craft Beer As You Get Older

If you are over 60 and like good beer, there is good news and there is bad news. The bad news is pretty obvious. The good news is not.

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Bad news – you are not in the beer industry demographic target market.  Good news – the stupid ads they run don’t appeal to you.

Bad news – alcohol consumption gives you a higher risk for health issues and falling injuries. Good news – intelligent consumption of quality beers reduces overall alcohol intake and gives a heightened sensory experience. Be aware where that next step is taking you.

man-drinking-beer-in-pubBad news – health conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure are made worse by consumption of alcohol. Good news – know your symptoms and act appropriately. If you are on medications, check with your doctor about how much (if any) beer you can consume.

As an aging American, I am watchful on how the pleasures of my youth moderate as I progress through my sixties. I am not as active and burn fewer daily calories yet my love for foods and spirits has not lessened. I am aware that left unattended this could lead to some serious health issues as I enter my seventies and eighties.

Okay – Here is the Bad News

funny-old-men-beachI have been reading up on the effects of alcohol consumption as people get older and the news is all pretty negative. I am no doctor by any stretch of the imagination, but I am pretty good at finding practical, workable solutions to daily problems. That said, if you have any health issues, and are taking a variety of medications, you really need a frank discussion with your doctor about recreational drinking, even in moderation, and how it interacts with your meds, and physical condition. Be truthful about your actual consumption.

Senior binge drinking is America’s great secret. Many seniors live alone and for many alcohol consumption is their only “friend”. Be it a fifth of Jack Daniels, a box of wine or a case of generic swill that passes for beer, Seniors take risks they probably should not be taking in their pursuit of small pleasures as they get older. More things hurt, whether it is a joint or an emotion.

And – Here is the Good News

A traditionally clothed German man in a beer garden raising his beer glass in toastSo what can you do as you get older when you get to the “I need a drink” point? It was easy in your 20s. Party hearty. Release that tension. Get silly. Unwind. If anything, the stresses of working and living increase as you age. Up until age 50 I was pretty sure I was indestructible. I’d fall and get right up. No thought to a broken hip, arm or leg. It is a concern now.

The myth that all Senior Citizens are feeble and decrepit is so untrue. Many live med-free and are enjoying great health.  Many have a more active social life and get more exercise than when they worked chained to that desk all day.

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 21:  A senior citizen drinks beer on September 21 2009 in Munich, Germany. The tourism office and the publicans of the beer tents invited senior citizen to eat and drink.  The Oktoberfest is Germany's and the world largest fair. About six million people attend the sixteen-day festival during late September and early October.  (Photo by Miguel Villagran/ Getty Images)
MUNICH, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 21: A senior citizen drinks beer on September 21 2009 in Munich, Germany. The tourism office and the publicans of the beer tents invited senior citizen to eat and drink. The Oktoberfest is Germany’s and the world largest fair. About six million people attend the sixteen-day festival during late September and early October. (Photo by Miguel Villagran/ Getty Images)

Craft beer provides a way for aging beer lovers to continue to enjoy smaller volumes of alcohol with greater sensory pleasure. Ales in particular have seemingly infinite varieties of tastes to experience and have fewer chemicals and preservatives. Most of the warnings about ill effects of beer consumption in the Senior population are fairly generic. In truth, they apply to everyone at any age.

beerYou will want to stop buying that six pack of cheap beer and buy one or two bottles of something really good. Ask for a “session ale”. These tasty numbers are all less than 5% ABV. You can  also find gluten-free craft beer is that is a concern in your diet.

A good rule of thumb is to significantly increase your intake of water before and after going to a festival or a night out with friends.

Health Benefits Of Beer

If you’re an occasional beer drinker, you may have been doing something good for your health without even realizing it. Here are the potential health benefits of drinking beer in moderation:

  • Better heart health: Those who drink a moderate amount of beer have been found to have a 31 percent lower risk for heart disease than those who don’t. Beer has also been found to reduce the risk of heart attack and death from cardiovascular disease by up to 40 percent. This is especially good news for those who have been drinking wine for these benefits, but would have preferred a nice cold beer.
  • More “good” cholesterol: Also leading to a healthier heart is the higher “good” cholesterol levels, which may result from drinking beer. Studies have found that moderate beer drinking can help increase a person’s levels of HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol that helps prevent clogged arteries.
  • Reduced risk of stroke: A moderate amount of alcohol (including beer) is good for preventing stroke. That’s because the drinks help prevent blood clots from forming and restricting blood flow to the heart, neck and brain.
  • Cancer prevention: Though more research is needed, preliminary studies have found that a compound found in hops (which are used to make beer) may help to inhibit enzymes that trigger cancer. That same compound is also suspected to play a role in destroying carcinogens. Typically, microbrews are made with much more hops than mass-produced beers.
  • More vitamin B6: Beer drinkers have 30 percent more vitamin B6 in their blood than non-beer-drinkers and twice as much as those who drink red wine. That’s good news considering that vitamin B6 is essential for brain function, energy and fighting off disease.
  • Healthier kidneys: Those who drink moderate amounts of beer are much less likely to get kidney stones. In fact, the risk of kidney stones drops by about 40 percent for men if they are beer drinkers as opposed to non-beer drinkers.
  • Stronger bones: It turns out that drinking beer can lead to healthier bones. Studies have found that older individuals who drinking one or two beers a day have higher bone density. This is largely due to the fact that beer (especially pale ales) has a lot of silicon, which is great for bone health.
  • Sharper mental faculties: Some studies have found that older women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol experience better preservation of their mental abilities as they age. In fact, one study discovered that the risk of mental decline was reduced by as much as 20 percent by drinking about one beer a day.
  • More antioxidants: Beer has plenty of antioxidants, which help reverse cellular damage. For this health benefits, it’s better to have a dark beer since they have more antioxidants than light beers.

 

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