Cheers! 6 Reasons Beer May Be Good For You
A daily pint may have some health benefits, from heart health to fighting cavities.
Beer lovers will argue that nothing tastes better than having a cold one after a long day. Unlike wine, beer is often perceived as unhealthy—associated with the dreaded "beer belly" or weight gain. However, if you drink alcohol and it's consumed in moderation (no more than one drink per day for women, and two for men), beer can be a nutrient-dense beverage compared with other alcoholic beverages.
Beer consists of hops, yeast, and grains, which contain antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Similar to wine, the moderate or occasional beer drinker, may possibly reap heart health benefits too. Read on, raise your glass and cheers to learn more about the benefits of beer.
Move over, vino! Beer may be good for your ticker, too
Wine often takes center stage during heart-health discussions. But don't shortchange beer's potential health benefits. In a 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care, researchers conducted a 32-year-long follow-up of 1,400 middle-aged women and found those who reported moderate consumption of beer (one to two drinks per day) had a reduced risk of heart attack compared with women who never drank beer. (Moderate intake was key, though, as participants with a high consumption also had an increased risk of death from cancer).
Beer may protect against rheumatoid arthritis
Alcohol, including beer, has anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely why it is sometimes associated with a lower risk of diseases triggered by inflammation. A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, which included 1.9 million participants from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), found that women who drank two to four times per week had a 31 percent decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis compared to teetotalers.
Beer may be an antimicrobial for your mouth
Beer, specifically hops, may actually help prevent cavities or gum disease. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found hop leaves, called bracts, contain antioxidants that appear to be helpful in fighting tooth decay. While brushing and flossing are still paramount, enjoying a cold one may have a positive impact on your smile.
Beer could protect your eyesight
Could drinking beer set you up for better long-term ocular health? Perhaps. A 3,654-person study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found participants with moderate alcohol consumption had a 50 percent lower incidence of cataract surgery (versus non-drinkers and heavy drinkers) over a period of five to ten years. Antioxidants in wine and beer may be responsible for these benefits; a number of studies show that cataracts and macular degeneration are more prevalent when a diet is low in antioxidants.
Beer could reduce your risk of kidney stones
Kidney stones are tiny, hard mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys, which may be a result of dehydration or certain food choices. If you’ve ever experienced them, you know that they can be very painful to pass. A Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology study following almost 200,000 participants found those imbibing about one beer a day had a 41 percent lower risk of forming kidney stones. Researchers believe this may be due to the diuretic properties of beer and other alcohols.
Beer may safe for people with type 2 diabetes
You may wonder how a brewski might affect people with type 2 diabetes, who generally have to keep an eye on their blood sugar and avoid weight gain. However, a meta-analysis presented at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Barcelona, Spain, found low-to-moderate consumption of any kind of alcohol may have a positive effect on blood glucose and fat metabolism. The authors looked at 10 randomized, controlled trials of people with type 2 diabetes. It’s important to emphasize that moderate consumption is key; overdoing it may actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and can have a varied impact on blood sugar in people with diabetes.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Alcohol & Public Health"
- Scandinavian Journal of Primary Health Care: A 32-year longitudinal study of alcohol consumption in Swedish women: Reduced risk of myocardial infarction but increased risk of cancer
- Arthritis & Rheumatology: Influence of Alcohol Consumption on the Risk of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Among Women in the Nurses’ Health Study Cohorts
- Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: "Comprehensive Separation and Structural Analyses of Polyphenols and Related Compounds from Bracts of Hops (Humulus lupulus L.)"
- American Journal of Ophthalmology: "Alcohol Consumption and the Long-Term Incidence of Cataract and Cataract Surgery: The Blue Mountains Eye Study"
- Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology: "Soda and Other Beverages and the Risk of Kidney Stones"
- "Analysis of studies into alcohol consumption in people with type 2 diabetes suggests" EurekAlert.