Fall is rapidly approaching and few things go as well with the changing of the season as the variety of pumpkin and Octoberfest beers.
Many healthcare providers believe beer if consumed in moderation, one 12 ounce beer per day for women and two for men, may provide some key health benefits.
1. Stronger bones –
Beer contains high levels of silicon, which is linked to bone health. In a 2009 study at Tufts University and other centers, older men and women who swigged one or two drinks daily had higher bone density, with the greatest benefits found in those who favored beer or wine. However, downing more than two drinks was linked to increased risk for fractures. Pale ale typically has the highest amounts of silicon, while white lagers and non-alcoholic beers have the least.
2. A healthier heart –
A 2011 analysis of 16 previous studies involving more than 200,000 people, conducted by researchers at Italy’s Fondazion di Ricerca e Cura, found a 31% reduced risk of heart disease in those who consumed about a pint of beer daily.
It should be noted that higher amount of alcohol from any source caused a rise in risk for heart disease.
More than 100 studies also show that moderate drinking trims risk of heart attacks and dying from cardiovascular disease by 25% to 40%, Harvard reports. A beer or two a day can help raise levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol that helps keep arteries from getting clogged.
3. Its good for the kidneys –
A study in Finland singled out beer among other alcoholic drinks for lowering the risk of kidney stones by as much as 40%. One theory is that beer’s high water content helped keep kidneys working, since dehydration increases kidney stone risk.
It’s also possible that the hops in beer help curb leeching of calcium from bones; that “lost” calcium also could end up in the kidneys as stones.
4. Beer is good brain food –
A beer a day may help keep Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia at bay.
A 2005 study tracking the health of 11,000 older women showed that moderate drinkers (those who consumed about one drink a day) lowered their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent, compared to non-drinkers. Older women who consumed a drink a day scored about 18 months “younger,” on average, on tests of mental skills than the non-drinkers.
5. Reduced cancer risks –
A Portuguese study found that marinating steak in beer eliminates almost 70% of the carcinogens, produced when the meat is pan-fried. Researchers theorize that beer’s sugars help block the carcinogens from forming.
Scientists also have found that beer and wine contain about the same levels of antioxidants, but the antioxidants are different because the flavonoids found in hops and grapes are different.
6. Its makes a great multi-vitamin –
A Dutch study, performed at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, found that beer-drinking participants had 30% higher levels of vitamin B6 levels in their blood than their non-drinking counterparts, and twice as much as wine drinkers. Beer also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid.
7. It helps reduce the chance of stroke –
Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that moderate amounts of alcohol, including beer, help prevent blood clots that block blood flow to the heart, neck and brain—the clots that cause ischemic stroke, the most common type.
8. Guards against diabetes –
A 2011 Harvard study of about 38,000 middle-aged men found that when those who only drank occasionally raised their alcohol intake to one to two beers or other drinks daily, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by 25%. The researchers found no benefit to quaffing more than two drinks. The researchers found that alcohol increases insulin sensitivity, thus helping protect against diabetes.
9. Lower Blood Pressure
A Harvard study of 70,000 women ages 25 to 40 found that moderate beer drinkers were less likely to develop high blood pressure than women who sipped wine or spirits.
10. Longer Life
In a 2005 review of 50 studies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that moderate drinkers live longer. The USDA also estimates that moderate drinking prevents about 26,000 deaths a year, due to lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
These benefits appear to apply in other countries as well, with an earlier study reporting that, “if European beer drinkers stopped imbibing, there would be a decrease in life expectancy of two years—and much unhappiness.”