For generations, people of legal drinking age have gathered around foaming pints of beer to enjoy relaxed conversation and fun. However, as good as beer tastes, people don’t usually think of it as a healthy beverage.
On the contrary, the phrase “beer belly” is often used in association with someone who enjoys beer a little too often and has a flabby, distended midsection as a result.
However, there are several reasons why drinking beer can actually be good for your health, meaning you definitely shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying a cold one from time to time.
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It Could Prevent Heart Failure
A scientific study has found that people who drink a half pint of beer per day could have a lower risk for developing heart failure. In fact, the risk was 20 percent lower in men and 16 percent lower in women. This study contradicts earlier presumptions that drinking beer was not helpful for the heart, and in some cases even harmful.
Furthermore, scientists looked deeper to see if the risk of heart failure might go up when people consumed an excessive amount of alcohol, such as 14 drinks per week. Even then, the risk of heart failure was not any higher in the heavy drinking group than in the people who were abstaining from alcohol.
So, all the more reason to at least have a drink with your evening meal, taking comfort in the fact it might help your heart beat stronger for longer.
It May Help Prevent Cognitive Decline
One of the possible side effects of getting older is having to deal with things like memory loss. Although this issue can happen to people of any age, it becomes more common with age and can eventually result in severe issues like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
However, scientists have found that a chemical compound present in beer hops called xanthohumol could ward off those cognitive problems. Specifically, it is thought to prevent brain cells from damage, in addition to slowing the progression of memory issues.
It May Safeguard You From Kidney Stones
If you’ve ever suffered from a kidney stone, you’ll probably never forget the excruciating pain associated with it. Although kidney stones can often be passed when a person consumes large amounts of fluid, doctors often recommend that chronic kidney stone sufferers get into the habit of drinking a higher than normal amount of fluid.
If you’re not down with the idea of chugging water to follow a physician’s orders, rest easy in the knowledge that drinking beer could also be useful, not to mention, tastier. In common with some studies you’ve already learned about, the results were most evident when people drank a beer per day.
However, the key factor here is that certain types of beverages make a person more likely to develop kidney stones, while others make the ailment less likely to occur. For example, when people drank sugary sodas daily, their risk of getting kidney stones rose by 23 percent, but people who drank a beer per day, instead, saw a 41 percent reduction in their risk of getting kidney stones.
The risk also went down when people chose beverages such as white wine, coffee and orange juice over sodas, but the reduction was not as great as what was noted in regard to beer drinkers.
Beer Might Prevent You From Getting Type 2 Diabetes
Researchers have found moderate consumption of alcohol, including occasional beer drinking, might be useful in preventing a person from developing type 2 diabetes. A detailed review was conducted that closely examined more than a dozen studies on the subject.
Scientists concluded that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce a person’s likelihood of getting type 2 diabetes by as much as 30 percent. Furthermore, that benefit was noticed regardless of whether a person was of normal weight or overweight.
However, as with many things in life, moderation is essential. That’s because, when people drank more than four alcoholic beverages per day, their diabetes risk went up. Although there are many things you can do to slash your diabetes risk, this one is arguably more enjoyable than some other options.
Alcohol Can Make You Feel More Capable
When a person has a drink, he or she may notice that the beverage causes an increase in confidence. Sometimes, beer is affectionately known as “liquid courage.” That’s because it affects the part of the brain that’s associated with inhibition.
A person who is generally very shy and withdrawn may feel that a beer causes a temporary increase in confidence that leads to higher self-esteem. Ideally, a person might find that the glass of beer initially made it possible to do something that was considered too nerve-wracking to even attempt, but that eventually, that individual will not need to rely on beer at all.
For example, a talented musician might drink a glass of beer before going on stage at their first performance and then find the overall experience so exhilarating that the alcohol is not necessary for subsequent performances.
Of course, the fact that beer has an effect on brain chemistry can also be a bad thing. When people use alcohol to try to numb their emotions, things can get out of hand. It’s essential to be aware of your limits when drinking beer, and always use it in a celebratory way, rather than as an escape route from the stresses of life.
Beer Could Keep Your Arteries Clear
A study performed by experts at Brigham and Women’s Hospital tracked more than 80,000 subjects across more than two decades and found that women who were moderate alcohol drinkers had a lower risk of developing strokes.
Scientists think that’s because alcohol can keep cholesterol levels lower and prevent the arteries from getting clogged by reducing the risk of blood clots. To get the full effect, drink one 12-ounce can of beer per day.
Beer May Make Your Bones Stronger
Broken bones almost always cause hassles, and the older you get, the more severe issues from broken bones can become. For example, if you break a bone as an elderly person, you’re more likely to be immobile, and in some cases, never walk the same way again, especially if a leg or hip is affected.
However, studies have shown that one to two beers a day can contribute to a greater amount of bone density in both men and women. However, as in the instance of beer possibly preventing type 2 diabetes, more is not always better. Specifically, men who drank more than two beers daily actually were found to have more fragile bones than men who drank less frequently.
Now that you’ve learned numerous reasons why beer could help you be healthier, hopefully you won’t feel guilty if friends ask you to unwind with a pint and conversation after work. It’s important not to overdo it, but this flavorful and beloved beverage could help you steer clear of deadly diseases and ailments.