Got the urge to stop by your favorite local watering hole for happy hour? Some folks may opt for wine because they believe that it’s healthier and won’t make you feel so bloated. That probably isn’t a concern of yours, but it is football season and you know you’re craving some of the “golden nectar”. While drinking until you’re hammered is tied into all sorts of badness, beer in moderation (read: two drinks or less) actually has some real health benefits. Be sure to avoid playing beer pong and have a couple of pints knowing that there are legitimate ways to justify tonight’s microbrews.
1) It’s a Brain Beverage
A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that moderate drinking may be associated with better brain function. Men who consumed up to two drinks a day scored 20 percent higher on a cognitive functioning test than those who had less than one drink. Norm from the classic sitcom Cheers is living proof!
2) It Can Keep You Hydrated
Researchers atGranadaUniversityinSpainsay that beer beats water when it comes to hydration. Subjects ran on a treadmill in 104-degree temps until they couldn’t take it anymore, then their hydration levels, motor skills, and ability to concentrate were measures. Half of the runners were given two half pints of Spanish lager while the other half were given water. The beer drinkers scored slightly better–a result that’s attributed to sugars salts, and bubbles in the beer enhancing the body’s ability to soak up water. As a bonus, the carbs replaced the calories they just sweated out.
3) It May Lower Risk of Heart Disease
A number of studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol–beer included–may lower your risk of heart disease. In one Harvard study, healthy-minded types who rated their alcohol intake as moderate had 40 to 60 percent lower incidence of heart attack. Drink beer and live longer, simple math right?
4) It May Prevent Osteoporosis
At theUniversityofCaliforniarecently researchers took to task the important job of analyzing 100 commercially-available beers. They found that most of them contained enough silicon to benefit bone health. Recommended daily dose: No more than two cold ones. And opt for Ales and Pale Ales, which have higher levels of the bone-bolstering silicon than darker varieties. …And you thought you had to drink milk all this time.
5) Hops May Lower Cholesterol
Research has found that hops–the bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of beer– is a great source of polyphenols, which lowers bad cholesterol, fights cancer, and gives your immune system a boost. This particular study was funded by a beer association and its findings have been backed up by unaffiliated experts who agree that, in moderation, the polyphenols in beer may have a positive effect on HDL and LDL.