9 Healthy Reasons To Drink Beer

While overconsumption is obviously a problem, a moderate beverage can be just what the doctor ordered.

April 6, 2016
pouring a beer
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There may only be one National Beer Day (April 7), but don't let that keep you from celebrating this beverage year-round.

Think of all the reasons we drink beer. There’s the obvious—after a hard workout, it tastes like the liquid equivalent of a high-five—and the less proven—it functions as a PED for previously untested dance moves. But those aren’t the only justifications for heading to the nearest craft brewery—or even to Homebrew Your Own. Here's our list of nine completely defensible reasons to (responsibly) enjoy this treat.

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Related: Science Says Your Post-Workout Beer Is A-Okay

Beer Can Help Reduce Your Risk Of Heart Disease
According to Harvard University, more than 100 studies show an inverse association between moderate drinking and risk of heart attack or death from cardiovascular disease. Across all the studies, a 25- to 40-percent reduction in risk has been found.

Beer Can Lower Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes
It may not be one of the world's healthiest foods, but beer isn't entirely without benefits. In a meta-analysis of 15 studies on moderate alcohol consumption and Type 2 Diabetes risk, the American Diabetes Association found “a U-shaped relationship with a highly significant 30-percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes in alcohol consumers of 6 to 48 g/day compared with heavier consumers or abstainers.” It’s important to note that a standard 12-ounce beer contains about 14 grams of alcohol—so drink responsibly if you want these health benefits.

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Beer Can Increase Your Bone Density
Studies have found that beers—particularly darker, hoppier ales—have a high amount of silicon, which contributes to bone and connective-tissue health. The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture reports that this suggests a moderate intake helps fight osteoporosis.

Beer Can Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease Or Dementia
Sure, Gardening + Dancing Can Cut Alzheimer's Risk In Half, but drinking in moderation can also help you stay at the top of your mental game. Researchers at Lanzhou University recently found that a compound found in beer hops, xanthohumol, can guard against oxidative stress and might fight the onset of dementia or cognitive decline.

 

Related: 10 Things To Do With Leftover Beer

Beer Can Reduce Your Cholesterol
Good news: A study recently found that moderate beer consumption can increase HDL, or healthy cholesterol, even more markedly for women. The American Heart Association recommends you don’t get carried away, though, and recommends no more than one drink per day for women and one to two for men.

Beer Can Prevent Kidney Stones
A toast to never finding out how miserable it feels to pass a kidney stone! Beer intake has been shown to have an inverse relationship with this painful ailment, with each bottle consumed per day estimated to reduce risk by 40 percent.

Beer Can Support Bike Advocacy
Sometimes supporting breweries not only means supporting local business that can make a place more livable and rideable, but also directly supporting bikes. Plenty of beer brands, like New Belgium, Flying Bison Beer Co., and Squatters, support bike advocacy organizations and events for cyclists. Turns out beer and bikes just go well together.

Beer Might Be Able To Fight Cancer
Researchers in Germany discovered that the xanthohumol in beer hops—the same stuff that helps prevent dementia— can block excessive testosterone and estrogen and thus reduce the chance of prostate cancer in men and breast cancer in women. They’re further studying xanthohumol for potential use as a cancer-fighting drug, but in the meantime you can get your dose from a nice IPA.

Beer Is A Great Post-Workout Reward!
In the last half of a hard run, ride, or other workout it’s nice to have a beer to fantasize about for added motivation. You can end by heading to the local brewery with your crew and enjoy the social lubrication and relaxation benefits beer can offer—or you can go straight home and indulge in one of life’s supreme pleasures, the shower beer. Either way, nothing will taste better when you’re tired and sweaty.

 

This article originally published on Bicycling.