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MICHELLE COOPER: Next, we are going to talk about beer. Most people raise their eyebrows when we talk about beer as being a health food. However, beer does have healthy ingredients in it. It is made with brewer's yeast, barley and hops. In fact, beer is a good source of foliate, magnesium, niacin and potassium. And drinking one beer a day may help lower your LDL cholesterol. However, alcohol has about nine calories per gram in it or actually closer to seven. So if you are trying to watch your weight or your caloric intake, you may want to choose a beer that is light or lower in calories. The darker beers, however, have more flavonoids in them, which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help protect our body against diseases like cancer and heart disease. And if you have a family history of alcoholism or if you are pregnant or have diabetes, your doctor is probably going to tell you that drinking beer is not a good idea. But if none of these conditions exists, having one or two a day may actually help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. So remember, one, having a beer a day, if none of those preexisting conditions are there, is actually fine and can help lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. Two, if you are on a diet or trying to watch your calories, choose a light beer or one that is lower in calories. And three, darker beers have a higher content of flavonoids, which is an antioxidant. Four, you do get some nutritional value from beer such as niacin, potassium, magnesium and a lower risk for certain diseases.



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