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Ed Ackerman Pittston Progresscv30ackermanp2Warren Ruda / The Citizens’ Voice

I’ve now lived long enough to hear the words mankind has been waiting to hear for, oh, some 7,000 years: Beer is good for you.

My wife and I were cruising down Interstate 81 last Thursday heading to Roanoke, Virginia, for another “fix” of our little 3-year-old great-niece, Coco, and her 1-year-old twin brothers, Emmett and Remy. I was trying desperately to listen to live U.S. Open golf on Sirius Radio while Mary Kay insisted on reading aloud “interesting” items arriving on her phone via Flipboard. She read a headline that I at first thought I must have heard wrong, but when she assured me I did not, caused me to immediately switch off the radio and give her my full attention.

The headline?

“The surprising health benefits of drinking beer.”

I am not making this up.

The article was written by Jonathan Wells of “The Telegraph” and dated June 15, National Beer Day in the United Kingdom. Apparently June 15 was selected because that’s the date the Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 and ale is actually mentioned in it. Gotta love those Brits.

National Beer Day in the U.S. is April 7, the date in 1933 on which it became legal to drink beer after the first steps were taken to repeal Prohibition. It had been 13 years between cold ones.

But I digress. Back to the good news.

Good news that was generated by, get this, a study done by the Pennsylvania State University.

We are … grate-ful.

According to “The Telegraph” article, Penn State studied 80,000 adults (Chinese adults, for some reason, but what difference does it make?) and concluded that a pint or two a day “could help reduce the risk of having a stroke or developing cardiovascular disease.”

I know what you’re thinking: fake news.

Actually, you’re not. But your wife probably is. So feel free to direct her to, or just read this aloud to her as my wife did to me.

It appears, and this is science talking, that not an apple a day but rather a couple of beers keep the doctor away. And they do so by slowing the decline of your “good cholesterol.”


“Honey, can you grab me another Miller Lite? You know, for my good cholesterol.”

Wait. There’s more.

And this tidbit of good news strikes even closer to home. According to the same article, a research team at the University of Scranton (yep, our University of Scranton) found “dark ales and stouts can reduce the incidence of heart attacks.”

Go Royals!

Finnish researchers, the article continues, have concluded that beer lowers the risk of developing kidney stones.

And Harvard Medical School (Harvard. Period. Medical. Period. School. Period.) says beer drinkers “can cut their risk of strokes by up to 50 percent.”

Beer strengthens your bones, says Tufts University in Massachusetts.

And reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, says Harvard again.

And reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (despite, I suppose, the number of times you don’t remember driving home).

Beer also, the article goes on, can stop cataracts (University of Western Ontario), might cure cancer (University of Idaho), and cures insomnia (but we already knew that).

And finally, according to the article, beer “helps you lose weight.”

Yeah, I find that one hard to believe too.

Nevertheless, in a world filled with a lot of bad news, I find this report, well, refreshing. Not unlike an ice cold SBC Sunny Spot on a hot summer afternoon.

I also find myself thinking of a few friends who, upon reading this, are bound to conclude they are going to live forever. Beer guts and all.

I am not going to mention names, after all they know who they are, but I am going to let them go right ahead and think that. That’s why I purposely left out a word that appears frequently in “The Telegraph” article: moderation.

That’s the last thing these guys want to hear.

Ed Ackerman writes The Optimist every week. Look for his blogs online during the week at