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Health benefits of drinking beer

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KATHMANDU — Beer contains the majority of the minerals we have to survive. It was an indispensible of many diets during the European Middle Ages, when good nutrition was rare.

Virginia Tech scientists found that regular, moderate beer drinkers were 19% less likely to die during a given time period than people who never touch a drop.

A key ingredient found in beer may help ward off cold and flu virus. Researchers at Sapporo Medical University found that humulone, a chemical compound in hops, were effective against the respiratory syncytial (RS) virus and were found to have an anti-inflammatory effect.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that women who had one alcoholic drink a day were less likely to find their mental faculties declining as they grow older.

Researchers pointed out that alcohol raises HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which is associated with a lower risk of heart disease and better cognitive functioning. Drinking just one pint of beer is enough to boost the condition of the blood vessels around the heart. Arteries become more flexible and blood flow improves within hours, the report said.

Likewise, a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that ‘beer consumption was inversely associated with risk of kidney stones (in middle aged men). Each bottle of beer consumed per day was estimated to reduce risk by 40 percent.’

Drinking beer after a workout rehydrates the body better than water. Professor Manuel Garzon at Granada University in Spain claimed the carbonation in beer helps to quench the thirst and that its carbohydrate content can help replace lost calories.

According to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, beer protects bone-mineral density because of its high levels of silicon. This allows the deposit of calcium and other minerals into bone tissue.

Researchers have reported that the part of hops that isn’t used for making beer contains healthful antioxidants and could be used to battle cavities and gum disease.

In a new study, they have claimed to have identified some of the substances that could be responsible for these healthful effects.

Yoshihisa Tanaka and colleagues note that their earlier research found that antioxidant polyphenols, contained in the hop leaves (called bracts) could help fight cavities and gum disease.

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes

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Kidney disease may up risk of diabetes. Representational image.

KATHMANDU — It is known that diabetes increase a person’s risk of kidney disease. But, now a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that the converse also is true which means Kidney dysfunction also increases the risk of diabetes.

The researchers deduced that a likely culprit of the two-way relationship between kidney disease and diabetes is urea. The risk may be attributed to the rising level of urea — the nitrogen-containing waste product in blood, which comes from the breakdown of protein in foods.

“We have known for a long time that diabetes is a major risk factor for kidney disease, but now we have a better understanding that kidney disease, through elevated levels of urea, also raises the risk of diabetes,” said the Ziyad Al-Aly, Assistant Professor at the Washington University in St. Louis.

The nitrogen-containing waste product in blood comes from the breakdown of protein in foods. Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down.

Kidneys normally remove urea from the blood, but it can build up when kidney function slows down, resulting in greater insulin resistance as well as secretion in the body.

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“When urea builds up in the blood because of kidney dysfunction, it often results in increased insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion,” Ziyad added.

The findings are significant because urea levels can be lowered through medication, diet — for example, by eating less protein — and other means, thereby allowing for improved treatment and possible prevention of diabetes, the researchers said.

For the study, the team evaluated the records of 1.3 million adults without diabetes over a five-year period, beginning in 2003.

Out of these, 117,000 of those without diabetes — or 9 per cent — had elevated urea levels, signalling poor kidney function and were at 23 per cent higher risk of developing diabetes .

The study, conducted in collaboration with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, is published December 11 in Kidney International journal.

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