The next time you pour yourself a craft beer—or perhaps you’re enjoying one now—you should know that there are a variety of health benefits from moderate enjoyment of your favorite malted beverage.
Current US dietary policy defines “moderate drinking” (see chart on page 31). For men, most studies equate moderate drinking to two 12-ounce servings per day. For women, moderation means one or two 12-ounce servings, depending on the study. Nearly all studies indicate that heavy drinking cancels out the beneficial effects of moderate drinking and causes a host of other serious problems.
The UK-based Beer Academy recently published a report, “Beer the natural choice?”, on the many benefits of beer, including a summary of health benefits. The Brewers of Europe published a similar report in 2004.
Originally published in The Atlas of Cardiovascular Risk Factors (2005), reproduced with permission of the author, Arthur Klatsky.
Health Benefits Associated with Moderate Consumption of Beer and/or Alcohol
- Decreased risk of weight gain among women who drink moderately, compared to those who don’t drink
- Decreased risk of hypertension
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, among healthy men, men who have had heart bypass surgery, women, and among drinkers with type II diabetes
- Decreased risk of heart failure, especially for moderate consumers
- Decreased risk of stroke among women, and in the long-term; however, this same study also found an increased risk of stroke in the two hours immediately following consumption of alcohol
- Decreased risk of arthritis – consumption of alcohol is associated with lower risk of arthritic conditions and lowers the risk and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis
- Lowering your cholesterol by raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels
- Decreased risk of diabetes by roughly 40 percent compared to abstainers, and kidney transplant patients (see heading TH-PO941 on page 325 of report)
- Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in female non-smokers, and in the 75 year and older age group
- Decreased risk of poor cognitive function for men and women
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density (see Silicon In Beer)
- Increases absorption of dietary fiber
- Hops contain Xanthohumol, which has been found to have significant anti-cancer activity in liver cancer cells and also in colon mucosa
CBS Health Watch Explores Health Benefits of Moderate Consumption of Beer
Chris Swersey is the Technical Brewing Projects Coordinator for the Brewers Association and he monitors the topic of Beer and Health for the Association. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.