Build Strong Bones With ... Beer?

Scientists say the dietary silicon in beer boosts bone density, and moderate consumption might help fight osteoporosis.
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Scientists say the dietary silicon in beer boosts bone density, and moderate consumption might help fight osteoporosis.

Hooray! Beer is good for you. According to scientists at the University of California, Davis, the sudsy stuff is full of dietary silicon, which helps increase the density of bone minerals. Their study appeared in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, and here's guessing the graduate assistants were only too happy to help on this one.

"The factors in brewing that influence silicon levels in beer have not been extensively studied," said lead author and just-the-man-for-the-job Charles Bamforth. "We have examined a wide range of beer styles for their silicon content." We bet you have.

The researchers tested 100 commercial beers for their silicon content — Nero Wolfe would have been proud — and categorized the data according to the brews' source and style. They found that beers with high amounts of malted barley and hops have the most silicon.

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The bottom line: Moderate beer consumption might help fight osteoporosis, which is characterized by a deterioration of bone tissue. And that's why you drink it, right?

The Cocktail Napkin appears at the back page of each issue of Miller-McCune magazine, highlighting current research that merits a raised eyebrow or a painful grin.

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