6 Cool Health Benefits Linked to Moderate Drinking of Craft Beer

Unless you have been living under a rock, one thing you may have noticed in recent years is the growing popularity of craft beer. Check out the Google Trends chart below. Global search interest on craft beer has been rising steadily the past five years!

Craft Beer Trends

The growing popularity in craft beer has served a great purpose for beer enthusiasts. No longer restricted to the same old beers served by industrial heavyweights like Budweiser, consumers now have the option of picking beers from over 5,000 breweries! So what this does have anything to do with health?

Well, while it’s unlikely that you will ever hear from a doctor that drinking beer is good for your health, there have been a number of observational studies conducted in the past that point to the benefits of drinking beer (or other alcoholic beverages) in moderation. Some craft beers may provide additional health benefits from the inclusion of unconventional beer ingredients.

Note that while moderate drinking may be linked to these health benefits, they should not serve as the primary reason for the consumption of alcohol.

Infographic - Health Benefits of Drinking Beer

#1 Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
A peer-reviewed study involving researchers at University of Cambridge suggests that moderate drinking could reduce the risk of developing numerous heart diseases. Researchers analyzed the health records of 1.93 million adults and found varying outcomes among the different levels of drinkers. For example, compared with moderate drinkers, non-drinkers “had an increased risk of developing unstable angina”.

Source: http://www.bmj.com/content/356/bmj.j909

#2 Protection Against Alzheimer’s
A study by researchers at Loyola University Chicago found that moderate social drinking may reduce the likelihood of dementia and cognitive impairment. Researchers found that the benefits of light and moderate drinking could apply to all forms of dementia. Heavy drinking, on the other hand, was associated with a higher risk for dementia.

Source: https://www.dovepress.com/moderate-alcohol-consumption-and-cognitive-risk-peer-reviewed-article-NDT

#3 Reduces Kidney Stone Risk
Patients who have had kidney stones in the past are typically advised to increase their fluid intake to avoid recurrences. One beverage that may help reduce kidney stone formation happens to be beer! A study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology mentions that there was a 41% lower risk of developing kidney stone for beer consumers.

Source: http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/content/early/2013/05/14/CJN.11661112

#4 Strengthen Your Bones
Researchers at the University of California found that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon, which is an important ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Out of the numerous beer categories tested, pale ale was found to have the highest concentration of silicon content.

Source: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jsfa.3884/full

#5 Drinking Beer May Help Digestion
One study found that beer consumption may help aid digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric acid. The researchers report that the bitter acids derived from beer hops play an important role in gastric acid secretion. Gastric acid, also known as stomach acid, is a fluid formed in the stomach that play a key role in the digestion of proteins.

Source: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf204306z

#6 Beer Hops May Help Block Inflammation
Hops is what gives beer its bitter taste. One study found that hop bitter acids could block inflammation by interfering with the compounds that cause such conditions. Here’s an interesting fact for you. Did you know that hops have been used as an herbal medicine for hundreds of years?

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19655312

So there you have it. While the benefits listed in this article shouldn’t encourage you to view beer as a primary source of health improvement, one thing you can be encouraged by is the fact that drinking beer in moderation could have some positive effects.

The next important question… What exactly does it mean to drink in moderation? Organizations, such as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, provide general guidelines on what might be considered an appropriate drinking level.

The general advice is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Ultimately, the level of appropriate drinking will differ for every individual so just be sure to keep yourself in check the next time you find yourself in a drinking situation.

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