The Benefits of Drinking Beer

 (725 words not including references)

Whenever you read about the benefits of alcohol, wine is always mentioned and beer is usually left out in the cold. We’re here to redress the balance. Dr Ethan A. Bergman (a previous president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) says

“A cold beer is the perfect way to relax at the end of the day, it tastes great and, in moderation, it can even be good for you.”

So read on to find out what other health benefits beer has in store for you. And bear in mind that Dr Bergman said “in moderation”. That’s the key.

beerModerate Drinking Can Lower Your Risk of a Heart Attack

Whether you prefer wine, beer or liquor, studies [1] show that moderate drinkers have a lower risk of developing coronary artery disease than heavy drinkers or teetotallers. Drinking one or two alcoholic drinks each day may increase your HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) by around 12%), lowering your risk of having a heart attack [2]

It also reduces constriction of your coronary arteries, limits the formation of blood clots and lowers levels of homocysteine, an amino acid which has been linked to increasing the risk of having a heart attack [2]

Go Towards the Light

Some evidence has linked the moderate intake of alcohol to a lower rate of obesity [2] Your best choice is a light beer that weighs it at just 100 calories for a 12 ounce bottle. How do they make beer light? Dr Bergman says –

“Light beer is usually a combination of slightly reduced alcohol and carbohydrate content. Because light beer contains ethanol, there is still a positive effect on heart health with moderate consumption.”

Your Kidneys Love Beer

According to a report in the American Journal of Epidemiology published by Finish researchers [3] the risk of developing kidney stones decreases with increasing beer consumption. They believe this to be due to the high water content of beer and the diuretic effect that it has (that means that it makes you produce more urine). It’s thought that compounds found in hops may also slow down calcium release from your bones that is linked to the formation of kidney stones.

It’s a Good Source of Fiber

How can a drink be a good source of fiber unless it comes out of a juicer? Beer is made from barley and contains something called beta-glucans. That’s a soluble fiber which can lower your cholesterol and make your heart healthier. One 12 ounce bottle of lager contains 0.75 grams of fiber. The same sized bottle of dark beer has 1.3 grams.

It’s so Packed with Vitamins It’s Almost a Health Food

Beer is a great source of B vitamins such as –

Folate

Niacin

Riboflavin

Pantothenic acid

Vitamin B6 (One 12 ounce bottle will give you 12.5% of your RDA of B6 vitamins)

Vitamin B12 (One 12 ounce bottle will give you 3% of your RDA of B12 vitamins)

The last two vitamins lower levels of homocysteine. You want that to be low because it’s an amino acid that can damage your arteries. It may also encourage the formation of blood clots. 

Make Your Bones Stronger

Heavy drinking is not good for bones. However, two beers each day can strengthen them. This is because it’s full of silicon which has been shown to make bones stronger. A study at Tufts University, found that men who drank 1 – 2 beers each day had hip bones that were 3.5 to 4.5 times denser than people who didn’t drink alcohol at all.

It May Help Reduce the Risk of Arthritis in Women

Arthritis mostly affects women. A recent study [4] showed that women who drank between three and five beers each week had a 31% lower risk of developing arthritis than women who didn’t drink alcohol at all.

It’s Pre Measured

Beer is already packed in a bottle or can so as long as you only have one or two a day, you’re gaining benefits.

So now you have lots of reasons for cracking open a cold one. However, we need to stress again that all of these results are with regard to moderate drinkers. While one to two beers a day can have great health benefits, anything over that is not so great for your health. And heavy drinking is not a good idea.

 

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

References:

1. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-1/15-24.pdf

2. http://www.johnshopkinshealthalerts.com/reports/heart_health/265-1.html

3. American Journal of Epidemiology 1999; 150:187-194.

4. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.38634/abstract

 

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