The name September comes from the Roman word sept which means seven. According to the Roman calendar September was the seventh month of the year. The Anglo-Saxons called it Barley month because it was when they harvested barley to be made into their favorite drink, barley brew, also known as beer.
Beer is one of the oldest beverages produced by humans dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC in Iran. Barley beer traces were found on a fragmented jug in the central Zagros Mountains of Iran dating back about 5400 years.
It has been argued that the invention of bread and beer was responsible for the building of human civilization. Certainly the cultivation of grains and the refinement of them have contributed to the development of the village, the town and the city.
Although other grains can be used to brew beer, even beers with wheat, corn and rice contain barley malt. The barley enzyme under specific temperatures helps covert the starch in the grain to sugar that are digested by the yeast. This is the fermentation of beer.
But is barley brew really a healthy drink? Well barley is certainly good for your health. Those suffering from asthma, arthritis, impotence, skin problems, anemia, obesity, constipation, diabetes, hypertension, kidney problems and heart disease will benefit from eating barley. That is because barley is a great source of fiber, as well as it contains the eight essential amino acids, meaning it is a complete protein.
The protein and B-vitamins in beer would seem to make it a good choice when it comes to your health. However, although there is a good source of vitamin–B the alcohol somewhat cancels out the benefits. But that does not mean that barley brew does not have its redeeming factors. It is also a good source of silicon and silicon is good for building and maintaining strong bones. Silicon is found in very few foods.
According to the National Institutes of Health, dietary silicon may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue. It may even help reduce the risk of the osteoporosis. But researchers say that the silicon content in beer has never been thoroughly investigated until now. However, the results do show that beer is a significant source of bone building silicon.
Now I am not advocating drinking beer. One beer a day is sufficient to get the results. More than two and everything cancels itself out. So if you want to skip the beer, other foods that include silicon are bell peppers, leafy greens, asparagus, parsley and sunflower seeds.
So pop open a beer and then make a salad of leafy greens, sliced bell peppers, sautéed asparagus topped with a little goat cheese, parsley and sunflower seeds, and you get a September brew that is sure to be good for you.
Happy Barley Month!