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Understanding Good and Bad Alcohol

Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Self Care Tidbits | 2 comments

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Several studies have reported over the years that regular consumption of moderate amounts of alcohol lowers the incidence of coronary heart disease and raises the level of high density lipoprotein cholesterol (”good cholesterol“)

Beer is health food in a mug.
  Non-drinkers often abstain in order to improve their health, but they are 70 percent more likely to die prematurely than those people who drink four beers a day.  Beer is a natural ferment that inhibits free radical scavengers and removes poisonous heavy metal like lead, copper and mercury.

Types of Alcoholic Beverages
There are two types of alcoholic beverages. The first type is a low alcohol-content beverage produced by fermentation of sugar or starch-containing products. The second type is high-alcohol-content beverages produced by distillation of the low-alcohol-content beverages.

Particularly in the case of wine, the alcohol content of low-alcohol-content beverages is increased by adding a distilled product. Port wine and Sherry are two such fortified wines.

The finished product results from the process involved as well as the resulting alcohol content. For example a ”beer“ involves a relatively short or incomplete fermentation process and an equally short aging process lasting only a week or two. The end result is an alcohol content generally between three and eight percent, as well as natural carbonation.

In many places in the world, the non-forced ferments of beer, or mead, is not only considered a health drink but a beverage of longevity.  A ”wine“ involves a longer, more complete, fermentation process. It also consists of a relatively long aging process lasting months, years and sometimes even decades. The end result is an alcohol content of between 7-18 percent (Note that sparkling wine is generally made by adding a small amount of sugar before bottling).

Distilled products are generally not made from a ”beer“ that would normally be palatable as fermentation is normally completed. No aging is involved in the distilled products until after distillation. Most distilled liquors are 40 per cent alcohol by volume. These stress the body and the brain.

Although beer is generally made from barley, it can sometimes contain a mix of other grains. Whiskey is sometimes made from a blend of different grains. This is especially true in the case of Irish whiskey, which may contain several different grains. The style of whiskey generally determines the primary grain used.

Vodka and gin are two common distilled beverages. Vodka can be distilled from any source with grain and potatoes being the most common. An interesting fact is that industrial cellulose is also used for the cheapest! The main characteristic of vodka is that it is so thoroughly distilled that it exhibits none of the flavors derived from its source material. Gin is a similar distillate which has been flavored by contact with herbs and other plant products, especially juniper berries. This is where gin gets its name.

In my experience, “distilled alcohol”, “hard liquors” and “spirits” have a place in mouth washes, cleaning wounds and bathing skin. They can be used for a shot for someone with the “chills” and for use in deodorants and other personal care items. These beverages should not be used for internal consumption.  I would stick to natural ferments like organic, naturally brewed beer and wine.

2 Comments

  1. Some beers are pasteurized and most are over filled with carbon dioxide (CO2) after fermentation. Our bodies breathe in Oxygen and breathe out the waste gas of CO2. Pushing into our system large amounts of CO2, whether it’s from beer or soda drinks, causes the gas to reconstitute to carbonic acid and can cause acid reflux.

    I agree that beer can be considered a meal in a glass, but I would strongly recommend the old traditional draft cask beer that is dispensed via a hand pump (beer engine) than the over carbonated tap beer found in many pubs/bars. Cask beer is low in CO2 and is very much a living beer.

    If drinking bottled beers, whether they are bottle conditioned, or gas filled, I would recommend pouring them into a glass from a greater height then normal to dispense with as much CO2 as possible.

    If I go to a pub that doesn’t sell cask beer I always get an extra empty glass and pour the beer back and forth to remove as much CO2 as possible.

    • You make a good point and I actually debated talking about this. I am all in favor of cask beer, but because it is not available to everyone!

      So if you have it, drink it..

      Thank you for your comment!

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