We’ve all heard about the health benefits of drinking red wine, but what about different types of beer? As the craft beer movement grows, more studies are being conducted regarding the health effects of drinking beer. Surprisingly, our favorite brews are better for our health than we previously thought.
This post details ten beer health facts that explain why consuming this popular beverage is actually healthy in moderation, which is enough for us to raise our glasses in celebration. Cheers!
Beer contains high levels of potassium, which acts as a diuretic. This effect is great for the overall health of your kidneys and can even help prevent painful kidney stones from forming. To further back this up, a study published in 2013 analyzed whether the consumption of different popular beverages increased the risk for kidney stones. As a result, researchers determined that beer and wine drinkers were associated with lower risk for kidney stones than soda drinkers.
Beer can actually raise levels of HDL, which is the good cholesterol your body needs (as opposed to LDL, the bad type of cholesterol). Having higher levels of HDL lowers your risk of heart attack and hypertension. A study conducted over a period of 16 years also found that men who had high blood pressure but drank beer and other alcoholic beverages in moderation had fewer heart attacks and strokes than their non-drinking counterparts.
Your favorite cold brew contains several essential B vitamins, especially vitamin B6, which is important for hormone regulation and healthy brain function. In fact, beer actually contains more protein and B vitamins than wine, despite the fact that wine is often considered the healthier choice.
Believe it or not, drinking beer might actually aid your overall cognitive health. Researchers don’t completely understand this benefit yet, but a study conducted at the Linus Pauling Institute determined that Xanthohumol (a compound found in hops) increased brain function in young mice. They say that this finding will only help to further our knowledge of Xanthohumol’s benefits for humans.
The polyphenols that are found in beer hops can reduce inflammation in the muscles and joints. A study at the University of Granada in Spain found that drinking a pint of non-alcoholic beer post workout was actually more hydrating than the same amount of water. While most of us don’t drink non-alcoholic beer, we can still benefit from the polyphenols found in regular draughts (although alcohol will, unfortunately, negate hydration effects).
Beer contains soluble fiber from malt, which is essential to the brewing process and aids in overall GI health. It also stimulates the production of necessary stomach enzymes. This benefit is especially helpful when we eat less-than-healthy bar foods with our beer.
Beer contains silicon, which has been proven to keep bones strong. Silicon can also help ward off osteoporosis while lowering your risk of bone fractures. While calcium is still important for bone health, you shouldn't feel guilty for swapping a glass of milk for a pint every now and then.
Chemicals called isohumulones, which contribute to the bitter taste in beer, can act to keep blood sugars at a healthy level, reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Because beer is known by many as a source of “empty” carbs, this benefit may come as a pleasant surprise.
The antioxidants found in goji berries and acai are also floating around in your pint glass. These helpful chemicals are especially prevalent in fruit beers, and they work to keep the common cold at bay. So, the next time you feel a cold coming on, consider drinking a beer or two instead of the usual orange juice.
Finally, there’s nothing quite like the stress relief that comes from indulging in your favorite brew. Drinking beer is not only delicious, but can also lower your blood pressure and help you sleep better. The fact that many beer lovers prefer to drink while relaxing with friends could also lead to the release of stress.
So, if you were looking for an excuse to fill up a growler with your favorite beer, look no further. While this list describes the benefits of drinking beer in moderation, we think it should be enough to keep you from feeling guilty about sampling a few beers this weekend.