Broccoli, Walnuts, and Beer

guinness-good-for-youThe gang at Esquire asked Mehmet Oz (aka “Dr. Oz”) a dozen questions about health. The only really interesting exchange:

You’re marooned on a desert island and you can choose only three foods to have. What are they?

Broccoli, walnuts, and beer. Broccoli has a chemical in it called an indole, which helps the liver detoxify itself. Walnuts have protein and omega-3 fats — the good kind — so they’re healthy calories. And beer has some carbs, which is helpful on a desert island. But most important, it’s a clean source of water due to the alcohol and the antibacterial activity of the yeast that ferments it. In fact, there’s some thought that beer was first created to provide clean water — the alcohol was just a nice side effect.

Presumably, then, if you could have only one food it would be the beer.  You need water more than anything except air and beer provides calories, bulk, and carbs to boot.   Indeed, some call beer “liquid bread” and Guiness is known by many as “Irish Breakfast.”

FILED UNDER: General, Health,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. sam says:

    If you could have only one food it would be the beer. You need water more than anything except air and beer provides calories, bulk, and carbs to boot. Indeed, some call beer “liquid bread” and Guiness is known by many as “Irish Breakfast.”

    Evidently, the ancient Egyptians were quite the beer drinkers, but I understand that their beer was quick thick, almost like thin gruel. Apparently, it was a mainstay of their diet.

  2. steve says:

    Beer, it’s not just for breakfast anymore.

    Steve

  3. sam says:

    Now that I think of it, perhaps in that hot, dry climate, it helped them stay highdrated….

  4. Herb says:

    I once dated a girl who was in the Peace Corps. She helped a village of Maroons in Guyana build an aqueduct for fresh water supplies.

    I asked her why she just didn’t show them how to brew beer. She didn’t think it was very funny.

  5. ulyssesunbound says:

    Herb,

    I dated a girl who was in the Peace Corps in the south of Morocco. She actually learned how to brew beer while there…

    Although when I think about it, I’m betting her new knowledge was more because of the scarcity/taboo of alcohol than a need for clean water.

  6. Franklin says:

    I don’t know if it’s an urban myth, but apparently pregnant Irishwomen drink Guinness because it is rich in iron. Of course that may explain some other things …

  7. PD Shaw says:

    there’s some thought that beer was first created to provide clean water — the alcohol was just a nice side effect.

    I certainly think that’s true by the middle ages, where monks are supplying beer to local peasants in more or less concentrated areas where excrement is freely flowing into the water supplies. But moving back in time, I suspect beer was the product of someone leaving grain soaking in a bowl and discovering the mixture provided a buzz.

  8. James Joyner says:

    I don’t know if it’s an urban myth, but apparently pregnant Irishwomen drink Guinness because it is rich in iron.

    I don’t know if they drink it while pregnant but in the months after delivery it’s been proven to boost milk production.

  9. John Burgess says:

    Franklin: Not so much Urban Legend as Conventional (Irish) Wisdom! Guinness was certainly suggested as a useful food for pregnant women. Iron, B vitamins including Folic Acid, and other minerals are to be found in Guinness (and other stouts) in nutritionally important amounts.

    Now we all know–‘cuz we’re told so–that any amount of alcohol is dangerous to the developing fetus. Even those of use who were conceived and born by women who drank now know that this is something to be avoided. Whether zero is the right amount of alcohol to be consumed by pregnant women, though, is still being debated.

  10. IIRC, Captain Bligh claimed that breadfruit provided everything necessary for a man to survive. If this is true, then apparently man can live by breadfruit alone.

  11. If I could only have three foods as defined above (since beer consiste of multiple ingredients), I’d go with:
    1. Chateau Petrus
    2. Chateaubriand
    3. Pecan Pie

  12. Alex Knapp says:

    I have long known that Mehmet Oz is a quack. The fact that he appears to be unaware of scurvy confirms that.

  13. One other note, I’d always thought the concept of marooned was related to a deserted island, not a desert island. There’s a non-subtle difference there. How many desert islands are there?

  14. Franklin says:

    I have long known that Mehmet Oz is a quack. The fact that he appears to be unaware of scurvy confirms that.

    Huh? Broccoli is chock full of vitamin C.

  15. Franklin says:

    One other note, I’d always thought the concept of marooned was related to a deserted island, not a desert island. There’s a non-subtle difference there. How many desert islands are there?

    Good point. Especially since deserts often occur to the east of mountain ranges, it doesn’t seem likely that there are a ton of desert islands.

    On the other hand, I’d love to be marooned on a dessert island.

  16. Alex Knapp says:

    Franklin,

    Huh? Broccoli is chock full of vitamin C.

    Holy crap I’m an idiot. You’re right.