Enjoying things in moderation never hurt anyone – it can actually be good for you. RateMDs details the surprising health benefits of drinking beer.
A lot of folks rang in the New Year with friends, family, and a hefty amount of alcohol.
For those that drank in excess, we can’t guarantee your friends will soon forget your face-palm-worthy singing or inebriated proclamations. But we can reassure you that if your drink of choice was beer, you at least enjoyed several nutritional and health benefits to ring in 2017.
Hopefully being aware of these health benefits of beers will ease the shame of your crazy New Year celebrations.
Beer has lots of nutrients
Beer is comprised of 90% water, and a wide hodge-podge of nutrients, including: soluble fiber, and trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, fluoride and silicon.
“Beer also has a unique antioxidant profile, with a majority coming from the malt and the remainder from the hops,” says Joy Dubost, a registered dietitian in the District of Columbia, and beer steward with the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
The distribution of nutrients varies on the type of ingredients in the brew.
Beer boosts bone health
The growth and development of bones and connective tissues depends on dietary silicon, which – you guessed it – can be had from beer.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to develop osteoporosis compared to non-drinkers. A similar study suggested moderate drinkers also experienced 20% less hip fractures than non-drinkers, too.
Beer’s dietary silicon content could be responsible for these bone-protecting properties.
Beer improves cholesterol
A 2016 study presented at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions analyzed 80,000 Chinese people, finding moderate drinking slowed the decrease of ‘good cholesterol’ over time.
But, like all things, too much is never good – the study also found heavy drinking negated the effect.
Beer can reduce Type 2 diabetes risk
Numerous studies have linked moderate drinking to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, up to 30%. Why this happens, however, is still unknown.
Beer boosts cognitive & psychological health
Parkinson’s disease studies suggest light-to-moderate drinking in mid-to-late life can slow cognitive decline associated with age. Like type 2 diabetes, the reasons behind the correlation aren’t known.
Studies have also found moderate drinking to reduce stress and tension, while increasing feelings of wellness. It goes without saying that heavy drinking will produce heavily adverse effects.
If you’re not a heavy drinker, there are still ways you can enjoy the benefits of beer without enduring its acquired taste. The best way to go about this is to use beer or alcohol in your cooking, which not only masks the taste, but dissipates some of the alcohol content via heat.
You can try:
- Use darker beers like Guinness in stews and chili.
- Add a hint of beer to a lighter macaroni and cheese made with roasted cauliflower and whole-grain pasta.
- Add beer to sautéed vegetables, such as green beans or onions, while cooking on the stovetop.
- Add beer to marinades for beef, pork and chicken.