A cold lager is refreshing on a summer afternoon, while a hearty porter or stout will warm you up faster than cuddling by a fire on winter’s coldest nights. But beer, a crowd pleaser for all tastes and all seasons, also brings unexpected benefits.
While there are many health benefits of beer, who among us hasn’t rounded down when doctors or nutritionists ask how much we imbibe? The health-conscious avoid the malty beverage due to the high calorie content. Calorie Counts range from approximately 100 calories in light beers, while an Olde English High Gravity malt-style beer weighs in at 220 calories per serving. A couple of those a day will quickly lead to a beer belly, but don’t take a vow of sobriety just yet! Here are 10 nutritious reasons to raise a glass or bottle to your good health:
- Portion control
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stress reduction
A beer a day keeps stress and heart attacks away. Moderate alcohol consumption can reduce stress and anxiety, known contributors of heart disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol reduces risk of dying of a heart attack and possibly reduces risk of strokes. “Moderate” is defined as up to 12 ounces per day for women and 24 ounces per day for men. Drink to that.
- 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.
- Beer drinkers have a lower risk of developing gallstones
Beer drinking is associated with a reduced risk for gallstones, according to the Mayo Clinic. Gallstones are made up of cholesterol, bile and other things that cause pain in the stomach. No one wants to deal with that.
- It has anti-microbial properties
Hops, the bitter flowers used in brewing, are known to be antimicrobial, which could fight disease.
- It’s good for your muscles
Muscles benefit from a substance in hops that keeps muscle from deteriorating.
- 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.
- Moderate beer consumption is good for bone density
Beer could keep bones strong. Researchers at Tufts University found a positive link between beer or wine consumption and hip-bone density. Heavy drinking, however, led to bone loss, according to the same study, so be conservative.
- It can reduce the risk of heart disease
Red wine is often touted as the healthiest alcohol choice, but a Kaiser Permanente study says not so fast. Incidences of heart disease for beer drinkers were lower than for wine or whiskey drinkers.
- 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.
So, take that teetotalers! Ales and lagers are actually good for you (in moderation). Cheers!