A recent survey of studies from Piedmont Healthcare has found that drinking beer may come with some health benefits, including lowering bad cholesterol and preventing kidney stones, Hunter Boyce reports for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
1. Beer is the most nutritious alcoholic drink
According to Piedmont, while wine is often touted as being full of antioxidants, "beer has just as many."
"The specific antioxidants are different because the flavonoids in barley and hops are different from those in grapes, but antioxidants are a good thing," Piedmont reported. "Beer is also higher than wine in protein and vitamin B. Even better, beer contains iron, calcium, phosphates and even fiber."
2. Beer can reduce bad cholesterol
LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, can be reduced by soluble fiber — something beer is full of.
"The soluble fiber in beer can help reduce your LDL or 'bad' cholesterol," Piedmont reported. "Increasing your intake of soluble fiber has numerous health benefits, including the promotion of healthy blood-sugar and blood-cholesterol levels."
3. Beer can improve brain function
Research has found moderate beer consumption is associated with improved brain function in many ways, according to Piedmont.
"In middle-aged subjects, increasing levels of alcohol consumption were associated with better function," Piedmont reported. "These findings do not suggest we encourage increased alcohol consumption, but moderate alcohol consumption has been proven to increase cognitive function."
Hops, one of the main ingredients in beer, also contain xanthohumol, a flavonoid that can help cognitive function.
"It's a flavonoid that helps slow down the degradation process of memory," Piedmont reported. "The chemical could help protect brain cells from oxidative damage associated with dementia."
4. Beer can make bones stronger
Since it's full of silicon, beer could potentially make your bones stronger, according to Piedmont.
"Dietary silicon in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA) may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease," Piedmont reported. However, the potential benefits related to beer and bones are still being studied.
5. Beer can prevent kidney stones
According to Piedmont, beer with large amounts of hops, including pale ales and IPAs, "are rich in kidney health-promoting phytochemicals."
Piedmont cautioned that regardless of the potential health benefits of beer, physicians typically do not endorse consuming alcohol.
"The benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have not been generally endorsed by physicians for fear that heavy consumers may consider any message as a permissive license to drink in excess," Piedmont said. "Talk to your doctor about your personal health history and individual consumption patterns." (Boyce, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 3/28)
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