Beer lovers, rejoice! Not only does beer taste great, and make you feel “buzzed” on life…beer is good for you!
As pints are poured in bars and restaurants across the country, know that drinking beer has real health benefits*.
6 Health Benefits of Drinking Beer
1. Decreases Incidence of Heart Disease
There are more than 20 well-done, large international studies that all demonstrate the heart benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. One study, conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) noted a 20-40% decrease in coronary artery disease in moderate alcohol drinkers. (1)
Now, that doesn’t mean drinking more is better.
Drinking beer responsibly is drinking healthy. Moderate consumption of beer (alcohol) results in an increase in HDL (good Cholesterol) and a decrease in LDL (bad cholesterol), along with an improvement in both HDL and LDL particle size. (3).
So, don’t worry about the medical terms; just know that a slightly “buzzed” heart is a happy heart!
2. Hops of Vitamins
A Dutch study showed a 30% increase in Vitamin B6 in beer drinkers, which makes sense because hops are loaded with the vitamin. This is important because Vitamin B6 helps to battle heart disease.
Alcohol is also an antioxidant which may contribute in part to the decrease in heart disease.
So if you’re looking for a boost in Vitamin B6, or just want to healthy dose of antioxidants, grab a cold one (or two) and cheers to your health!
3. Decrease in Kidney Stones
The Journal of Epidemiology revealed a 40% decrease in kidney stones among beer drinkers. This is most likely secondary to the hydration from the beer since we don’t note a similar finding with other alcohol consumption.
So if you want to avoid the extreme pain associated with kidney stones, grab a couple brews and drink to stone-free days ahead…
4. Benefits for Women
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition says beer helps prevent a decrease in bone density.
Beer is also high in flavonoids – from the hops- whichacts as a natural hormone replacement.
The National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment followed over 200,000 females and found that drinking alcohol decreased the incidence of osteoporosis (7).
All of this leads to a decrease in hip fractures in elderly females, which is important because hip fractures after the age of 65 are associated with a significant increase in mortality.
So, women, if you’re concerned about your bone health, don’t just focus on calcium; add some beer to your diet for another way to protect your bone density.
5. Beer Makes Your Head Clear
That’s right; drinking the right amount of beer is good for your mental health.
The New England Journal of Medicine reported a preservation of mental acuity, especially in elderly women, who drink alcohol moderately.
There are numerous studies that show that moderate alcohol consumption not only decreases the incidence of Alzheimer’s but also improves memory, concentration and reasoning. (6)
6. Stroke Reduction
Multiple studies consistently show up to a 50% reduction in the risk of strokes in moderate alcohol drinkers. Most notable was a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) (4).
The American Stroke Association has stated that 2 alcoholic drinks per day can decrease your incidence of stroke (5)
So, the next time you crack open a cold one, know that you’re doing more than just having a good time…you’re drinking to your health! Cheers!!!
*The health benefits of drinking beer and alcohol in general are based on moderate consumption, which means two beers per day for an average size man and one beer a day for average size women. Many of the benefits described above are lost when alcohol is consumed excessively, and drinking alcohol excessively can have a serious negative effect on your health.
Dr. Thompson is a cofounder and board member of USMD, a Medical Development Company. He was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons & the Chief of Surgery (20 years), Chief of Staff, and head of the Credential Committee at Southeast Missouri Hospital.
1) Hennekens,C H Alcohol and Risk of Coronary Events : National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. US Dept. of Health and Human Services
2)Sesso H.D. & year changes in alcohol consumption and subsequent risk of cardiovascular disease in men. Archives of Internal Medicine, 2001 160 2505-2612
3)Mukamal, K.J. Alcohol consumption and lipoprotein subclasses in older adults. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2007 April, PMID: 17440017
4)Sacco, R.L. The Protective Effect of Moderate Alcohol Consumption on Ischemic Stroke, Journal of the American Medical Association. 1999, 281, 53-60
6)Espeland,M. Association between alcohol intake and domain-specific cognitive function in older women. Neuroepidemiology, 2006, 1(27), 1-12
7)Siris, E.S.. Identification and fracture outcomes of undiagnosed low bone density in post menopausal women; Results from the National Osteoporosis Risk Assessment. Journal of the American Medical Association, 2001, 286(22), 2815-2822
Featured photo by Matthias Rhomberg