The health benefits of beerToasting to the holidays? Some studies show that beer consumed in moderation may be beneficial to your health.
The health benefits of beer
Toasting to the holidays? Some studies show that beer consumed in moderation may be beneficial to your health. Here are 16 reasons why.
1. Beer is more nutritious than other alcoholic drinks.
We hear a lot about the abundance of antioxidants in wine, but beer has just as many. The specific antioxidants are different because the flavonoids in barley and hops are different from those in grapes, but antioxidants are a good thing. Beer is also higher than wine in protein and vitamin B. Even better, beer contains iron, calcium, phosphates and even fiber. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
2. Beer can help protect your heart.
Studies suggest moderate beer drinking* may make you less likely than those who don’t drink to suffer from hearts attacks, strokes or heart disease. In fact, studies evaluating the relative benefits of wine versus beer versus spirits suggest that moderate consumption of any alcoholic beverage is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. New England Journal of Medicine
3. Beer helps prevent kidney stones.
Drinking beer could help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. According to a recent study, men and women who reported drinking a moderate amount* of beer reduced their risk of developing a stone by 41 percent. Beers that contain a lot of hops — for example, pale ales — are rich in kidney health-promoting phytochemicals. Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
4. Beer lowers bad cholesterol.
The soluble fiber in beer can help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Increasing your intake of soluble fiber has numerous health benefits, including the promotion of healthy blood-sugar and blood-cholesterol levels. However, because alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, it can also lessen the body’s ability to burn stored fat. American Heart Association: Circulation
5. Beer strengthens your bones.
Due to its high silicon content, beer may help to build stronger bones. Dietary silicon in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA) may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease. National Institutes of Health
6. Beer helps reduce stress.
Researchers found that two glasses of beer a day can reduce work-related stress or anxiety. However, routinely turning to alcohol to help cope with stress may do more harm than good. While alcohol may help with stress reduction in the moment, in the long run it can contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety, making stress harder to deal with. American Journal of Psychiatry
7. Beer may help improve memory.
Hops has a secret ingredient that can help improve cognitive function – Xanthohumol. It’s a flavonoid that helps slow down the degradation process of memory. The chemical could help protect brain cells from oxidative damage associated with dementia. (Important note: The dosage used in the study was much higher than a human could possibly consume via beer. Research is still in early stages.)Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry
8. Beer helps cognitive function.
In middle-aged subjects, increasing levels of alcohol consumption were associated with better function. These findings do not suggest we encourage increased alcohol consumption, but moderate alcohol consumption* has been proven to increase cognitive function. American Journal of Epidemiology
* Moderate drinking = one drink/day for women and two drinks/day for men
Beer is conveniently packaged in a portion-control bottle. It’s easy to limit it to one—or at least keep track of how many you’ve had.
10.It’s rich in B vitamins
Beer is full of B vitamins from the yeast. Unfiltered beer is especially high in B3, B6 and folic acid (B9). B3 aids in cell repair and B6 eases PMS. Folic acid aids in colon cancer prevention.
11.It’s high in fiber
Beer contains fiber, which acts as a natural laxative. It also slows the rate at which food leaves your stomach, which means it suppresses appetite. So indulge in a beer, and know you’re preventing overeating.
12.Beer drinkers are at lower risk of type-2 diabetes
Multiple studies have shown that beer drinkers had an approximately 30 percent lower risk of type-2 diabetes than test subjects who abstained.
13.It has anti-microbial properties
Hops, the bitter flowers used in brewing, are known to be antimicrobial, which could fight disease.
14.It’s good for your muscles
Muscles benefit from a substance in hops that keeps muscle from deteriorating.
15.It’s high in silicon
Two brewskis a day could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2007 study at the University of Alcala in Spain. The research suggests a high intake of silicon limits aluminum absorption in the brain, which in turn could aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
16.It’s a social lubricant
A brew also has social benefits. A beer can loosen you up a bit for a first date, a family gathering or a networking event. Alcohol can boost courage and chattiness, according to a University of Washington study. However, some people continue to drink because of the perceived expectation that if one is good, a lot is even better. We all know more beer doesn’t make us more charming and attractive. Everyone knows how that story ends.
What you should know
- The benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have not been generally endorsed by physicians for fear that heavy consumers may consider any message as a permissive license to drink in excess. Talk to your doctor about your personal health history and individual consumption patterns.
- Heavy drinking is linked to cirrhosis, fetal alcohol syndrome, hypertension, malnutrition and pancreatitis. It also increases cancer risks.