Recent Studies Suggest That a Beer (Or Two) a Day Will Do Wonders for your Overall Health.
Beer gut: a term typically used to describe the protrusion of mass just above the waistline and a common sign of a regular beer drinker. Health food item is definitely not a category most people would throw beer into but a plethora of recent studies have suggested otherwise.
The key to seeing bolstered health rather than a thicker waistline lies in moderation. This means one or two 12 ounce beers for men and one for women, and no more than 14 beers units in a single week.
“If you overdo it, alcohol can take a toll on your health, contributing to liver damage, certain cancers, heart problems, and more,” says Andrea Giancoli, RD, spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.
So, no surprise, too much alcohol of any kind is bad for you. But too much of anything can be detrimental to your health; even too much water can cause H2O intoxication. Balance is key and a proper intake of delicious malty goodness provides many vital vitamins and nutrients and reduces the risk of a handful of common health risks.
Make no bones about it: beer can decrease your chances of needing a cast. Beer has high silicon content which helps stimulate bone building cells. The estrogenic effect of alcohol in beer can also have protective qualities for bones. In a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition it was discovered that participants who consumed 1-2 beers a day had greater bone mineral density than those who drank more than 2 beers on average, or no beer at all.
If you are looking to increase bone health your best bet is an India pale ale as a 2010 University of California Davis study found that IPAs had the highest levels of the silicon of the styles of beer tested.
Sharper Brain Function
In a study by New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed the drinking habits of about 11,000 women over more than 15 years and found that those who sipped a drink a day had a 20% lower risk of brain function decline (as measured by memory and other cognitive tests) than nondrinkers. The study also found that moderate alcohol intake may help to protect blood vessels in the brain and decrease the chances of a stroke.
It’s important to add, however, that regular binge drinking can lead to irreparable brain damage.
A Finnish study found that moderate beer consumption can greatly reduce your risk of kidney stones. Finnish researchers saw a 40% lower occurrence of kidney stones in men who regularly drank a moderate amount of beer as opposed to those who drank other types of alcohol or did not drink at all. The researchers believe this is due to the high alcohol content of water in conjunction with the presence of hops (a flower-like ingredient in beer added for flavor and its preservation properties) as they are known to help slow the release of calcium from bones.
Too much beer, or alcohol in general, can lead to the opposite effect as it can cause significant dehydration. Dehydration can increase the risk of kidney stones, which are little deposits of salt and minerals such as calcium that can form in your kidneys.
A Norwegian study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine in 2015 reported light to moderate consumption of alcohol was associated with a lower incidence of heart attacks. The blood-thinning effects of alcohol have show to help lower blood pressure and put less stress on the heart and major arteries.
“Alcohol raises levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol,” says Arthur Klatsky, MD, senior consultant in cardiology at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif. “It also has anti-clotting effects, which keeps blood vessels clear and healthy.”
In another study performed in Israel, researchers found that people who drank one beer daily had lower levels of fibrinogen, a protein that helps promote blood clotting, than those who abstained from drinking. (Blood clots can cause heart attack and stroke.)
Decreased Risk of Cancer
Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg have discovered that beer contains a powerful molecule that helps protect against breast and prostate cancers. Found in hops, the substance called xanthohumol blocks the excessive action of testosterone and oestrogen. It also helps to prevent the release of a protein called PSA which encourages the spread of prostate cancer.
You don’t just have to drink beer to see it’s health benefits. According to a study conducted in Portugal, marinating meat in beer can reduce the level of carcinogens, formed during exposure to high temperature, by up to 88%.
Next time you pick up a cold pint you can take even more enjoyment in knowing that you doing your body and mind a solid. Cheers!
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