Just about everyone who enjoys beer has wondered if it is good or bad for their health. There is no simple answer to this question. But, the vast majority of beer aficionados are folks like you who Savor the Flavor Responsibly®.
Well, wonder no more. An ever-growing body of research confirms that responsibly enjoying beer as part of a healthy diet can promote your well being. In fact, the USDA Dietary Guidelines specifically mention the health benefits of moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages.
The next time you pour yourself a craft beer, or maybe you are enjoying one now, you should know that there are a variety of possible health benefits provided from your favorite malted beverage.
Health Benefits Associated with Moderate Consumption of Beer
- Decreased risk of weight gain among women who drink moderately, compared to those who don’t drink.¹
- Decreased risk of hypertension.²
- Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease³, among healthy men, men who have had heart bypass surgery4, women5 and among drinkers with type II diabetes.6
- Beer is a rich source of silicon, which plays a role in increasing bone mineral density and may help prevent osteoporosis.7
- Decreased risk of heart failure8, especially for moderate consumers.9
- Consumption of alcohol is associated with lower risk of arthritic conditions10 and lowers the risk and the severity of rheumatoid arthritis11
- Consumption of alcohol can help lower your cholesterol by raising high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels.12
- Decreased risk of diabetes13 by roughly 40 percent compared to abstainers.
- Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, particularly in female non-smokers.14
- Decreased risk of poor cognitive function for men and women.15
- Decreased risk of osteoporosis by increasing bone mineral density.16
- Increases absorption of dietary fiber.
- Hops contain Xanthohumol, which has been found to have significant anti-cancer activity17 in liver cancer cells and also in colon mucosa.18
Dangers of Over-Appreciation
Beer is a beverage of moderation, as well as the perfect accompaniment to dinner and social occasions. Over the years, nearly all of the health benefits attributed to beer, or any alcoholic beverage, have been associated with moderate consumption of (1 – 2 drinks per day). As with any of life’s pleasures, too much of a good thing can have negative results.
To help avoid negative consequences of drinking, CraftBeer.com provides a Blood Alcohol Content Calculator to inform beer lovers of the estimated potential blood alcohol content range that one might experience after responsibly enjoying beer.
New research continues to explore the ways in which alcohol affects the human body. Here are some of the possible downsides of excessive consumption.
- Cancer – For every study showing a benefit of moderate alcohol consumption there is another showing the risk of certain types of cancer increase with consumption of alcohol. These include oral cancer20, hormone dependent forms of breast cancer21, and possibly stomach cancer.
- Diabetes, insulin dependence, and metabolic syndrome – whereas moderate consumption actually lowers the risk of diabetes compared to non-drinkers, heavy alcoholic consumption increases the risk of diabetes.22
- Fetal Alcohol Syndrome23 - Doctors aren’t sure how much alcohol (if any) a pregnant mother may safely consume without placing her baby at risk. For this reason, current U.S. health policy24 advises women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant against drinking any alcohol.
- Hangover – described on Wikipedia as the “sum of unpleasant physiological effects following heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages”, and “a natural and intrinsic disincentive to excessive drinking.” Be sure to enjoy your favorite beer in moderation, and drink plenty of water while enjoying beer or other alcoholic beverages to help combat this side effect.
- Heart attack – among men and women.26
- Heart failure.
- Pancreatitis among heavy drinkers.
- Stroke when drinking is heavy (more than six drinks per day) or at a binge level, and in the two hours27 immediately following consumption of alcohol.
Remember to Savor the Flavor Responsibly®, and always keep in mind the dangers of over consumption.