Go ahead: Ask what’s on draft at happy hour. Pick up a six-pack on your way home from work. Crack open a cold one and watch some TV after a long day. Whatever your beer of choice, whether it’s a citrusy IPA or a light lager, here are a couple more reasons to feel good about drinking a daily pint of beer.
Don’t worry, you won’t get a beer belly. (Unless you pour your beer wrong, which is probably why it makes you feel bloated.) Studies show that casual beer drinkers don’t necessarily have larger bellies. It’s the excessive drinking that’ll get you — and those consequences aren’t limited to beer. In fact, a small, sugary cocktail could be far more caloric than an entire pint of beer.
But the carbs! The calories! And, of course, there’s the alcohol — that can’t be good for you. And to be honest, it’s not. There’s a reason Guinness had to ditch its age-old slogan, “Guinness is good for you.” But every now and then, it’s OK to shove all those reasons not to drink a beer to the wayside. Beer, while definitely not a health food, does actually have some real benefits. (Other than the liquid courage you get from drinking it.) So go grab yourself a glass and toast to beer, the drink giving you these 15 fabulous benefits with every sip.
You might not have needed science to tell you this one, but beer can actually make you happier. Research supports this — according to one recent study, a chemical in beer works to release happy hormones in your brain.
The same study showed that beer drinkers experienced a significant boost in their self-esteems. Not that you should rely on alcohol to solve all of your mental health problems; but beer, in this case, can help you feel better short-term. Thanks, beer!
Two different centenarians cite beer as part of what helped them live past 100 years old. No promises that you’ll experience the same effect. But the evidence doesn’t lie. Matilda Curcia said her habit of snacking on potato chips with beer helped her reach her 100th birthday. And Doris Olive Netting, 100 years old, has been drinking a Guinness every day since she was 37!
Maybe not while you’re drinking it. But beer, according to some studies, can help stave off Alzheimer’s and dementia. Drinking beer moderately (the key word here is moderately) can help to flush damaging compounds from your brain.
That’s right: The calories in beer might not be as “empty” as you thought. Depending on the type, your beer could contain folate, B vitamins, selenium, and potassium. Folate and selenium are relatively rare, as nutrients go, and many Americans don’t get enough of them. Beer could actually help prevent a deficiency! Guinness, for example, has more folate and fiber than most beers. Most light beers, on the other hand, don’t have any. Beer still doesn’t have nutrition labels, so it’s hard to know specifics. But take solace in the fact that there is some nutritional benefit to be gained from your favorite brew.
Take this health advice with a grain of salt — excessive drinking has long been tied with an increased risk of heart disease and other health problems. But according to a 2003 study, drinking small amounts of beer was associated with a decreased risk of arteriosclerosis, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
A study presented by the American Heart Association showed that moderate beer drinkers actually had slower declines in good cholesterol than those who didn’t drink beer at all. A slower decline in good cholesterol is a positive thing, since you want to have more good cholesterol and less bad cholesterol for optimal health. Just don’t pair your beer with too much bar food — all that grease and salt isn’t exactly cholesterol-friendly.
Got beer? Beer doesn’t have the calcium that milk can provide, but it can actually help support healthy, strong bones. The National Institutes of Health says that orthosilicic acid can help reduce your risk of osteoporosis. And, luckily for beer drinkers, orthosilicic acid is found in most beer. But based on the number of injuries suffered from alcohol-related mishaps, if preventing broken bones is your prerogative you might be better off drinking a glass of milk.
According to research conducted in Finland, beer can help protect men from ever having to pass kidney stones. Their results showed a 40 percent decrease in risk with every additional bottle of beer consumed each day.
According to Harvard’s Nutrition Source website, moderate drinking could be preventative against heart disease and certain types of stroke. Cheers to that! But, in a slightly less fun turn of events, studies show that more than four drinks a day and you’ll significantly increase your risk.
Could a beer a day keep diabetes away? Research conducted at Harvard showed that among a group of men who rarely drank, adding one to two beers a day to their diet actually made them healthier. The extra beers reduced their risk of Type 2 diabetes. The researchers were careful to caution that this doesn’t necessarily mean you should take up drinking to prevent diabetes — but instead suggests that moderate alcohol consumption might not be so terrible, after all.
Short-term, not so much. Ever heard of the term “beer goggles”? But once you’ve sobered up, the beer you drank could actually help your eyesight last further into your old age. According to a study from the American Chemical Society, beer (in moderation) can help prevent cataracts. And why not snack on one of these good-for-you foods instead of greasy, fried food at the bar? They could improve your eyesight even more.
You knew that wine has powerful antioxidants from grapes — but did you know beer has cancer-fighting compounds, as well? The hops used to brew most beers contain prenylated flavonoids, a type of antioxidant known to have various disease-fighting qualities. Some studies show that hops could help ease damaging inflammation.
Rewarding yourself with a beer after a grueling workout could actually be a good call — not only for your mood but also for your health. Alcohol itself is dehydrating, so make sure you pair your beer with a glass or two of water. But the carbohydrates and electrolytes in beer are exactly what your body needs after a tough sweat. Those benefits evaporate if you don’t hydrate well enough, though. While one post-workout beer could do some good, three post-workout beers is probably not the best idea.
And really, what other reason do you need? The most important reason to drink a beer is because you enjoy it. If hops make you happy, then by all means indulge. Here’s your full permission. For a beer you’ll really enjoy, you might want to try one of these incredible brews, ranked the absolute best beers in America!
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