Numerous scientific studies have shown that the consumption of beer is linked with numerous health benefits. I knew it! In seriousness there are a number of ways beer can be good for you in moderation.
1) Moderate alcohol increased HDL levels (The Good Cholesterol) – An article on the AHA website describes the benefits of increasing HDL concentrations and its effect on coronary heart disease. In effect the article describe that the increases in HDL through moderate alcohol intake results from increased transport rate of some lipoproteins.
2) Alcohol is an anti-inflammatory agent – Scientists at Innsbruck Medical University have succeeded in demonstrating the anti-inflammatory effect of beer extracts. Inflamed blood vessels are responsible for plaque build-up and can lead to strokes and heart disease. Additionally, it has been shown that moderate beer drinkers have fewer cases of rheumatoid arthritis.
3) Alcohol acts as a blood thinner – Much like aspirin alcohol will thin the blood. The health effects of this are reflected in the reduced risk of coronary thrombosis (clotting). An article by the Mid America Heart Institute describes some of these effects.
4) Alcohol has antioxidant compounds – Antioxidant compounds inhibit oxidation which can terminate the chain reactions caused by free radicals. In cases of chronic diseases alcohol can offer protection from cell damage.
5) Alcohol can combat viruses and bacteria – Some of these can include H. pylori, a bacterial cause of stomach ulcers; common cold viruses; the hepatitis A virus; and microbes that cause food poisoning, such as salmonella, E. coli and viruses in tainted oysters.
6) Reduction of Kidney Stones – Alcohol could reduce the development of kidney stones up to 40% with each beer consumed daily. Drinking beer can help prevent kidney stones because it helps prevent calcium deposits from being formed in your kidneys. Stouts, porters or other beers with lots of hops are best.
7) Hops slow growth of cancer cells – A study out of Ohio State University suggests that phytochemicals derived from hops and found in beer can influence the growth of prostate cancer cells in vitro. Pull out that IPA.
Let’s face it, eating and drinking is two of life’s greatest pleasures. However, every one of these benefits relies on moderation. So the next time you’re out for a ride, have a few beers afterwards to refuel the tank, you may just be improving your health.