Is Beer Good For You?

Published 5/14/13

Beer, one of the sections of the nutrition pyramid, right? Well, not exactly but it might seem like it with beer being at its all-time high in terms of popularity and consumption.  It is common knowledge that heavy consumption of beer, and other alcoholic beverages, comes with major health consequences that can ultimately result in death. But recent studies have begun to prove that beer can be very beneficial when consumed in moderation.

Beer And Overall Health

It is commonly believed that the health benefits from beer are a result of the alcoholic content as well as the essential vitamins and minerals found in the beer.

Beer And Cholesterol

Alcoholic beverages, including beer, have been shown to increase the body’s high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, which is considered the good type cholesterol.  One to two beers a day has been shown to be the best amount consumed on a daily basis in terms of lowered HDL levels. Alcoholic beverages can also benefit the blood vessel lining and reduce the likelihood of forming a blood clot in the heart, neck, and brain areas while also protecting against Type 2 Diabetes as a result of increased insulin sensitivity or the anti-inflammatory effects of alcohol.

Beer, Men, and Diseases

The National institutes of Health completed a study that showed frequently drinking in moderation can help protect men from dying of cardiovascular disease, which is the number one cause of death within the United States. Participating men who reported drinking at least 120 days within a calendar year had a 20% lower cardiovascular death rate compared to men who drank 36 days a year or less. The folate, a water-soluable vitamin in leafy green vegetables, found in beer is believed to reduce homocysteine in the beer, which can result in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. However, frequently drinking in excess can have the opposite effect. Participating men who regularly drank five or six drinks a day had a 30% increased chance of death by cardiovascular disease compared to rare drinkers. A Finnish study also concluded that beer, more so than other alcoholic drinks, lowered the risk of kidney stones in men as a result of the high water content in beer since good hydration helps prevent kidney stones from forming.

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