Edgy Mama: Beer is good for you

This week I’m writing about that critical ingredient in sane parenting: beer. Not only is it mama’s nightly equilibrium enhancer, but this nectar is good for mama, too. Turns out that beer is the popcorn of beverages: economical, healthy, and an excellent mealtime complement, particularly when small children are underfoot.

In past Januaries, I’ve attempted the torture I call “beer fast.” Because I adore beer, and I drink five to seven pints per week, cutting out brewed calories often rids me of the extra pounds of sugar I pasted around my hips over the holidays. Beer fast works, kind of, although I rarely last longer than two weeks without beer. Wine just doesn’t compare and hard liquor makes me sicker.

This year, I’ve decided that beer fast isn’t the way to go. Not just because quaffing a beer relaxes me so I don’t whack my kids during “hell hour.” You know the hour when you’re trying to pull dinner together and the kids are tired, hungry and whiny, and there’s no way you’re all going to survive another minute without violence? That’s when the beer comes out. But also, I’ve been reading that beer, in moderation, is good for you. Like disease-prevention good for you.

The latest study, from Spain, suggests that the silicon content of beer may protect against the effects of aluminum buildup in the brain. Aluminum is a nasty neurotoxin that’s been linked to Alzheimer’s. The study, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology last month (great bedtime reading), reports that silicon in your digestive tract helps keep the aluminum from uploading into your bloodstream and traveling to your brain.

Silicon is a mineral found at high levels in grains such as oats, barley and rice (barley being a key ingredient in beer). It’s not the same as silicone, which can be found in cookware, breast implants, and anatomically correct, life-sized dolls.

The researchers, who hail from the University of Alcalá in Madrid, offer the caveat that consumption of alcoholic beverages must be limited and shouldn’t be promoted as a way of increasing certain nutrients (duh). They don’t mention its ability to increase numbness while cooking plain noodles for the 10th time in a week.

Another study from Tufts University showed that beer consumption protects bone density. Again, thank silicon. The high levels of silicon in beer increase the uptake of calcium and other minerals into bone tissue.

Another study (lots of folks seem to want beer to be healthy, don’t they?) touts the high levels of antioxidants, B6 and folate in beer, which can help protect against heart disease. Beer works a bit like my other favorite treat, chocolate, in that the darker the beer, the higher the levels of antioxidants. Recommended amounts tend toward one beer per mom per day and no more than two per dad. This is good, because two is all it takes to give mama a headache and a sour tummy, thus negating the positives.

We’ve got silicon, B6, folate, and antioxidants floating throughout the amber liquid of equilibrium. We have no fat or cholesterol. We do have carbs and alcohol. Although neither, in moderation, are inherently evil.

So, it seems that consuming beer can potentially help KO three persistent old-age ailments: Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis and heart disease. All this while protecting my kidlings against crazy mama. Clearly, beer is magic. Go beer!

And guess what? We live in Beerville, U.S.A. With all the excellent craft breweries, brewpubs and specialty beer sellers in the Asheville area, how could I not partake regularly? My favorite hell-hour spot is Asheville Pizza and Brewing Company—pizza and video games for the kids and locally brewed beer for parents. APBC almost turns hell hour into happy hour again.

Here’s a toast to the healthful and equilibrium-enhancing attributes of beer! Be gone, beer fast.

Anne Fitten Glenn is a freelance writer based in Asheville. She covers a number of topics (including parenting) on her blog, www.EdgyMama.com.


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54 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Beer is good for you

  1. Thanks, Revolu.

    So how healthy are/were your parents, Jason?

    Yes, Nam Vet. And one of the cornerstones of civilization. I’ve heard the theory that agriculture, transportation and trade all arose from the desire to grow, move, and barter beer and wine. How’s that for cool?

  2. Gordon Smith

    I’ll be sure to pass this along to the families I work with, EM.

  3. “Recommended amounts tend toward one beer per mom per day and no more than two per dad.”

    I knew I was going to have to quote myself. Again.

  4. Ken Hanke

    If it keeps up at this rate, beer could outdistance circumcision two to one.

  5. [b]”If it keeps up at this rate, beer could outdistance circumcision two to one.”[/b]

    This should be the next required quote for the next 48 Hour Film Project. In fact, I kind of want a shirt with that quote on it.

  6. “If it keeps up at this rate, beer could outdistance circumcision two to one,” says Ken Hanke.

    In fact, I think I’d like to put this on my next Edgy Mama T-shirt.

  7. zen

    My dear sweet grandmother who passed away at the respectable age of 94 drank a single (usually Busch) beer at dinner and kept her agates and general health until the last months of her life. If i wanna be like her i guess i best boost my beer intake.

  8. zen

    One’s “agates” is one’s marbles (meaning mind or mental processes). Marbles, before glass used to be made of agate, the material agate, which is a fine-graned quarts with natural banding giving marbles individual looks.

    so “having one’s agates” is an old way of saying that you were mentally sharp.

    Geez, i’m old when young whippersnappers like you need me to explain my euphemisms. I guess i’m a fossil.

  9. Ken Hanke

    “My T-shirt entry:

    ‘Beer is proof God loves us’”

    I think it’s been done.

  10. Nam Vet

    Ken, perhaps. But no harm in putting the slogan up again. “Beer is proof God loves us”.

  11. Kent Priestley

    Never mind where my foreskin went, bartender — pull me another pint.

  12. Ken Hanke

    Despite the completely correct use of the word “pull,” I think I’d have chosen an alternative in this particular instance.

  13. Ken Hanke

    Mr. Shanafelt is above such things. Or hes sorry he didn’t spot the chance first. Take your pick.

  14. Nam Vet

    Hum, the last thing on my mind when drinking a pint of beer is foreskin. Don’t any of you boys think about tacos when drinking? It may be the bars you hangout in. :)

  15. Stewart David

    Great article, I’ll drink to that!

    An August 13, 2002, a Wall Street Journal article reported that beer “delivers protection against major ailments such as heart attacks, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and dementia.” According to Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School’s Guide to Healthy Eating (2001), a book that reviews all the science and all the studies, moderate alcohol consumption “protects against heart disease and ischemic strokes, and mounting evidence [shows] that it protects against diabetes and gallstones.”

    Years ago, PETA had a “Milk Sucks, Drink Beer!” campaign. It included the info above and made the case that you can drink beer responsibly, but the same can’t be said of milk.” Check it out at

  16. Nam Vet

    Drinking milk does not harm the cow. Thank you cows for giving me ice cream, cheese, and yogurt. I bow to you and pay you back by not eating your dead flesh or wearing your skin as shoes or belts. And milk never has led to alcoholic addiction.

    Drink milk! AND drink beer (in moderation)!

  17. lurkymclurkstien

    “Thank you cows for giving me ice cream, cheese, and yogurt”

    Not to mention the enlightenment of humanity by providing us with psilocybe mushrooms. Thanks, cows!

  18. Stewart David

    Nam Vet,

    I wish that were true!

    The 9 million cows living on dairy farms in the United States spend most of their lives in large sheds or on feces-caked mud lots, where disease is rampant. Cows raised for their milk are repeatedly impregnated. Their babies are taken away so that humans can drink the milk intended for the calves. When their exhausted bodies can no longer provide enough milk, they are sent to slaughter and ground up for hamburgers.

    Mother cows on dairy farms can often be seen searching and calling for their calves long after they have been separated. Author Oliver Sacks, M.D., wrote of a visit that he and cattle expert Dr. Temple Grandin made to a dairy farm and of the great tumult of bellowing that they heard when they arrived: “‘They must have separated the calves from the cows this morning,’ Temple said, and, indeed, this was what had happened. We saw one cow outside the stockade, roaming, looking for her calf, and bellowing. ‘That’s not a happy cow,’ Temple said. ‘That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby. Bellowing for it, hunting for it. She’ll forget for a while, then start again. It’s like grieving, mourning—not much written about it. People don’t like to allow them thoughts or feelings.’”

    Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their babies. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farmers impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born—males are destined for veal crates, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.

    Why support all this suffering when you can drink beer instead?

  19. Nam Vet

    Stewart, that just isn’t true. Pick one of our local organic dairies and actually go out and visit. You’ll find the cows contented and well cared for. And no murders being committed on them. Tying lacto-vegetarianism to the killing and dissecting of cows, then the eating of their dead body parts, just doesn’t connect. It is just an extreme anal retentive reach for the PETA and vegan types, who often wear leather themselves anyway. The Hindus in India have been using dairy for 1000s of years and they honor cows as much or more than humans. They never eat dead animal body parts.

    Ken’s deja vu remark was about the foreskin, no doubt. He stikes me as a no-milk-all-beer-drinking kind of guy. :)

  20. [b]Stewart and Nam Vet:[/b] As fascinating as this new, cow-oriented topic is, it has almost nothing to do with this blog’s topic, and threatens to derail the overall discussion. I [b][i]strongly suggest[/i][/b] that if you want to talk about animal rights and the dairy industry, you take it to the Xpress forums. Further posts not relating to Edgy Mama’s “Beer is good for you” blog will be removed.


  21. i scored some great brew @ bruising ales last week. including some of the last cold mountain ale in asheville. i couldn’t believe it when i saw it sitting on the shelf.

    again, yea for beer!

  22. Stephanie R.

    That is ace!
    Love beer too! I did read about it somewhere else also about it being good for the heart but I had no idea about those other things.

  23. Nam Vet

    Wow Steve, HEAVY! Are you speaking for Jon now? Perhaps you have some guilt as a dead animal part consumer. Or perhaps you haven’t had your beer yet? My point is this. Drink milk AND beer…both in moderation. And leave the editorial tasks to your boss.

  24. Stewart David


    How is it that I can’t compare drinking beer to drinking milk without your threat of censorship, but a discussion of foreskin is relevant? And a comparison of beer to bourbon and crack doesn’t merit a similar warning?

  25. lurkymclurkstien

    Teacher Teacher!

    Can i post a link to the Sally Fallon website then? About how beer and fermented raw meat are very good for you? Ooooh oooh oooh!

  26. [b]Stewart and Nam Vet:[/b] Your comments were veering off-topic, and the posts that provoked the warning had nothing to do with Edgy Mama’s blog. Being the admin for the A & E blogs, and being [b]very[/b] familiar with both of your posting histories, I issued you both a very clear warning not to turn this post into a two-person hobby-horse race. That warning stands.

    It’s fine if you want to discuss milk, vegan diets and animal rights — just not on this thread. We have provided a space on our Web site, [i]Xpress Forums[/i], just for you to do so. But, you are not going to shoehorn in these unrelated comments into this Edgy Mama thread.

    You both have [i]Xpress[/i] site accounts, so starting a thread on the forums will be very, very easy. Click on the forums tab in the upper right hand corner of the page, find the appropriate section of the forums to place your comment in, and then start a discussion thread about the topic of your choice.

    Also be sure to read the Forum Rules, which are posted as the first topic in each section.

  27. [b]Stewart:[/b] One of the most commented-upon Edgy Mama columns was “To cut or not to cut,” which you can read here:


    It’s a familiar reference for many regular Edgy Mama readers, and has become a kind of in-joke. If someone was trying to fight the foreskin battle (or any derailing topic for that matter) in this column’s blog comments, I’d tell them to take it to the forums as well.

  28. Nam Vet

    Steve, I still think you were being selective in “enforcement”. Your warning seems a bit heavy to me, as it apparently did to Stewart. Just what set you off? You talk of being familiar with “posting history”. That sends up a flag right there. Were you offended by a past remark of either of us and are just now reacting? You post here as a regular person, yet you are staff as well. A bit of a conflict of interest, isn’t it? I do try to stay on topic, so any veerings are momentary blips. Next time, I’d appreciate a little less ominous “warning”.

    Back on topic, BEER IS GOOD! (in moderation)

  29. Stewart David

    Nam Vet,

    Agree, beer is good stuff. And, dare I say it, better for you than most other beverages, especially sugar-ladened sodas, coffee, and non-human mammary secretions.

    If you know my last name you’ll find my phone number listed. Feel free to call and I will explain Steve’s heavy-handed overraction that led to his selective enforcement, also known as viewpoint discrimination. If I wrote it here, I’d be off topic and he’d surely delete it. He might even delete this!

  30. [b]Nam Vet and Stewart:[/b] Thank you both for coming back to the topic at hand. Part of my job is to keep the A&E;forums and blogs safe, secure and sane, and there’s nothing ominous about telling you to take your personal and off-topic preoccupations out of this thread and move it to the place we’ve created for just such discussions.

  31. AshaKasha


    I love beer. I drink beer daily and it shows on my small frame (love handles, beer belly, spare tire…hahaha…beer butt coming soon).

    I love good beer (porters, ales, IPA’s), but why can’t they make a lower calorie version of it?

  32. Nam Vet

    Beer tip: go to French Broad Brewing Company, adjacent to Biltmore Village. Buy a “growler” of your favorite beer. Mine is “Wee-heavier Scotch Ale”. $10 even. No deposit. BUT,if you wash the empty bottle and go back to the brewery, you can get it refilled for only $8. A real deal considering you get 4 pint glasses from the bottle.

  33. mmm……we have *two* full growlers in my fridge from FB right now. :) Too bad I have to go shoot a show tonight, otherwise I’d be draining one right now!

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