There are currently more than 100 different categories of beer. A report from the global research group Mintel showed that nearly 60% of beer drinkers say they like to try craft or microbrew beers, and 51% would try more if they knew more about them.

Because beer is made using the plant sources barley and hops, it contains a considerable amount of nutrition. However, the brewing process, ingredients and proportions used can all influence the nutritional content of each beverage.

• Calories and Macronutrients. Beer provides fewer calories per ounce than wine and contains both protein and carbohydrates (protein – 4% of total calories; carbohydrates – one-third of total calories).

• Vitamins and minerals. One 12-ounce regular beer contributes a lineup of B-vitamins. The mineral composition of beer (potassium, magnesium and phosphorus) is equal to that of wine; however, beer is the winner when it comes to selenium and silicon content. Selenium aids in the protection against cancer and heart disease. Silicon works to strengthen the connective tissue between bones.

• Antioxidants. Like wine, beer also provides health protective phytonutrients called polyphenols, which help defend against cancer. Dark beers typically have the most antioxidants and higher iron content when compared to light beers. Microbrews have more hops and polyphenols that can play a role in lowering cholesterol. Did you know that beer typically contains more protein and B-vitamins than wine? The antioxidant content of beer and wine are fairly equal but get their antioxidants from different sources. Wine gets the antioxidant content from grapes, while beer’s antioxidants come from the barley and hops.

Moderate intake of any alcoholic beverage (one alcoholic beverage for women daily, two for men) has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce the risk of blood clotting. One serving of alcohol is defined as: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1 to 1-½ ounces liquor. Moderate drinking is also linked with a lowered incidence of gallstones, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and improved cognitive function in older adults. Beer has been associated with lowering the risk of kidney stones in men, possibly due to beer’s high water content and diuretic effect. In addition, substances in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones.

Even if you are not a fan of beer, it is a great way to add flavor to cooking while still getting the essential nutrients.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location. The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at


Lemon-Beer Marinade for Chicken, Beef or Fish

All you need:

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 bunch green onions, chopped

1 (12 ounce) bottle beer

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 orange

1 lemon

1 lime

¼ cup teriyaki sauce

1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

All you do:

Heat olive oil in skillet and sauté garlic and green onions until translucent. Add beer, brown sugar, juice from 1 orange, juice from 1 lemon, juice from1 lime and teriyaki sauce.

Simmer for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside to cool before using. Add fresh tarragon and parsley before brushing on meat.

For chicken, marinate meat for about 45 minutes. Marinate beef for about 1 hour and 30 minutes and fish for about 20 minutes.

Grill meat until recommended internal temperature is reached and enjoy.