If you are a lover of craft beer, we’ve got great news. There is absolutely no reason to feel guilty about enjoying a bottle or two of brew. Many people wonder is beer good for you? Well, science is proving that beer, when enjoyed in moderation, offers a number of surprising benefits to your health. Even the American Heart Association recommends one alcoholic drink per day for women and two (not at the same time) for men. Of course, we’re talking about only one or two drinks a day – there is nothing healthy about going on all-night drinking binges.
The health advantages of moderate beer drinking include a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, increased bone density, the potential prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, and help for the digestive system. Beer helps to treat diabetes, osteoporosis, kidney stones, gallstones, hypertension and other medical ailments. It also acts as a diuretic, and beer’s ability to help people relieve stress is, to say the least, legendary.
Beer has more protein and vitamin B than wine, while its antioxidant content is comparable and slightly better than wine’s. Hops, an important component in the brewing of beer, are a rich source of the powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. Beer is also a good source of the minerals that play essential roles in the body’s metabolic processes. Below are some of the remarkable and amazing health benefits that beer provides:
HEALTH BENEFIT #1: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF DIABETES
A 2011 Harvard University research study of 38,000 adult men in middle age indicates that those who drink one or two beers a day were 25 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The alcohol in beer augments a drinker’s sensitivity to insulin, which helps to prevent the development of diabetes. Beer is also an excellent source of the soluble fiber that otherwise healthy people with diabetes need as a part of their diets.
HEALTH BENEFIT #2: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF KIDNEY STONES
Finnish researchers have found that moderate beer consumption every day can lower the risk of kidney stones by as much as 40 percent. Beer’s large amount of water content helps to flush toxins from the system and helps the kidneys remain in proper working order. The hops used in brewing also help to reduce the exposure of calcium from the bones, and that in turn keeps calcium from building up in the kidneys to form kidney stones.
HEALTH BENEFIT #3: BEER CAN HELP TO REDUCE CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Moderate beer-drinking is one of the more enjoyable ways to reduce your cholesterol level. The barley used in brewing contains a soluble fiber that helps to lower cholesterol levels. In one study, participants who drank a moderate amount of beer each day had higher levels of HDL, or “good” cholesterol after one month, and the effect was stronger in women than in men. HDL – high density lipoproteins – remove “bad” cholesterol from the bloodstream.
HEALTH BENEFIT #4: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF HEART DISEASE
A research study conducted in Italy found that people who drank a pint of beer every day had a 31 percent lower chance of heart disease. Researchers analyzed sixteen case studies involving more than 200,000 participants in an effort to compare risk rates between wine and beer. This cardiovascular health benefit in beer is derived from natural antioxidants called “phenols.” However, the researchers also found that the risk of heart disease actually increased in people who drank excessive amounts of beer.
HEALTH BENEFIT #5: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF ALZHEIMER’S
One of the most unexpected benefits of drinking beer is the protection it offers against Alzheimer’s disease. A research team at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine found that moderate beer drinkers are 23 percent less apt to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers theorize that the silicon content in beer protects the brain from aluminum in the body, one of the suspected causes of Alzheimer’s.
HEALTH BENEFIT #6: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF CANCER
It seems that beer is just chock-full of healthy chemicals, nutrients, and other ingredients, and one of those other ingredients is a vital antioxidant called xanthohumol. Xanthohumol protects the body against enzymes that are known for causing cancer. The moderate consumption of beer also helps beer drinkers avoid the chemical reactions that are known to cause prostate cancer for men and breast cancer for women.
HEALTH BENEFIT #7: BEER CAN HELP REDUCE THE RISK OF STROKES
The people who drink beer in moderate amounts can cut their risk for strokes by as much as half, according to studies conducted by the American Stroke Association. Harvard School of Public Health researchers tell us that a moderate amount of beer consumed daily helps to prevent the blood clots that can obstruct the blood flow to the heart, neck, and brain. Those blood clots are a leading cause of strokes. Moderate beer drinking keeps your arteries flexible and helps your blood to circulate properly.
HEALTH BENEFIT #8: BEER CAN HELP WITH MANAGING BLOOD PRESSURE
Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase a person’s blood pressure dramatically, and it is a serious health issue for thousands in the United States. However, a study conducted recently at Harvard University has demonstrated that women ages 25 to 40 who drink beer in moderation are far less apt to high blood pressure issues when compared against women who drink wine or additional alcoholic drinks.
HEALTH BENEFIT #9: BEER CAN HELP WITH STRONG BONES
Silicon is vital for healthy bones, and a moderately high level of silicon is found in beer. Researchers at Tufts University found in 2009 that older persons that drank 1-2 beers every day maintained a higher bone density, making them less vulnerable to bone ailments, like fractures, than individuals who do not drink at all. However, the Tufts researchers also concluded that drinking 3 or more beers a day heightens the risk of bone fractures.
HEALTH BENEFIT #10: BEER FIGHTS DANDRUFF
Maybe you have heard about people who shampoo with beer. They’re not crazy. Due to its high yeast and vitamin B levels, beer is one of the very best treatments for problem dandruff. Understand that we are talking about external use here – not consumption. Wash your hair with a beer 2 or 3 times a week to diminish any dandruff. Beer also keeps your hair shiny, soft, and looking great.
Don’t forget that drinking in moderation is the key to taking advantage of beer’s many amazing health benefits. As everyone should know, drinking too much – of even the finest craft beer – can cause catastrophic health problems. A standard 12-ounce lager contains just under one gram of fiber and a dark beer contains just over a gram. In general, regular beers contain several B vitamins. A 12-ounce brew also packs more calcium, magnesium, nutrition, and selenium – an important antioxidant – than a glass of wine.