13th October 2018
“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.”
– Homer J. Simpson
Science does a lot of good things. It helps us cure diseases, gives us answers to life’s questions, provides us with entertainment, connects the whole world at a moment’s notice… The list is pretty extensive. Science also keeps highlighting reasons why beer can be good for you. It’s good to know that scientists have similar priorities to everybody else. Obviously beer has its negative health aspects, but here are a few ways it can benefit the body.
1. Beer is low in sugar
We all know somebody with a full on beer belly – that’s what happens when you regularly overdo it – but beer is actually low in sugar; so it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get fat from drinking it. A pint of beer only contains about two teaspoons of sugar, whereas a smaller can of coke has around seven, and an orange juice around six. The problem comes from the amount we drink at a time. It may only be two teaspoons of sugar per pint, but if you knock back a few each night you’ll soon start to notice that beer belly creeping up on you.
2. Beer is full of fibre
It may seemingly make you crave cheesy chips at 3am when you’ve been out in town, but beer is actually full of fibre – which makes you feel full and staves off hunger. Your loss of inhibitions and self-control will probably lead you to the pizza place anyway though.
3. Beer helps us digest fatty foods
If you end up ordering a late night/early morning kebab you can at least rest safe in the knowledge that the fat will be easily digested by the excess bile you produce. In fact, just think about the excess bile, and the kebab might not seem as appealing anymore.
4. Beer may help prevent diabetes
It hasn’t been definitively proven yet, but research has shown that when men who rarely drank beer increased their intake to a glass or two a day, they saw a 25% percent decline in their risk for type 2 diabetes after four years. A bit of maths here tells us that after sixteen years of moderate consumption we would be all but immune to diabetes then. In reality, it probably doesn’t work like that. Unfortunately.
5. Beer contains lots of super-nutrients
Even if it’s not going to rival spinach as a superfood any time soon, beer does contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Beer also provides you with numerous other minerals and vitamins – magnesium and potassium are present, as are phosphorous and iodine.
6. Beer is high in vitamin B
Beer has a high content of B vitamins; which is why Guinness used to be prescribed to pregnant women to protect against birth defects of the brain and spine. To get the positive effects of B vitamins yourself, just make sure you drink beers that haven’t had them filtered out through pasteurisation. Opt for real ales and microbrewery beers instead of artificial, mass-produced beers.
7. Beer is good for your bones
Calcium is another mineral found in beer in quite high quantities. This is good news for bones as it strengthens them, as well as protecting bone mineral density. It’s only a matter of time before it replaces milk on cereal really.
8. Beer could help combat Alzheimer’s
It might not seem like it when you wake up in the morning wondering where the hell you are and what the hell happened the night before, but (moderate consumption of) beer appears to have positive effects on memory longer term – possibly even fighting off Alzheimer’s disease. High levels of aluminium are believed to play a part in the onset of Alzheimer’s, and the silicon found in beer seems to offset its effects by reducing aluminium uptake in the digestive tract and slowing the accumulation in the body and brain tissue.
9. Beer can help your heart health
As with all of these points, the benefits only come with moderation of your drinking, and protecting your heart is just same. It has been shown that beer can boost the flexibility of the arteries, leading to improvements in cardiovascular health. Vodka and alcohol-free beer did so too, but were not as beneficial as actual beer.
10. Beer can raise your good cholesterol
This ties into the heart health point above: beer can raise your levels of HDL-cholesterol. It’s the actual alcohol in beer that boosts this good cholesterol – which sweeps away cholesterol deposits in your arteries – lowering your risk of blood clots, reducing inflammation, and protecting against heart attacks.
11. Beer has anti-ageing properties
Ferulic acid in beer is a potent antioxidant that can protect your skin from sun damage and ultimately help keep it looking youthful – with darker beers providing more of an antioxidant hit than lighter beers.
Similarly, the hop content has led to a craze of female celebrities (like Elle Macpherson and Catherine Zeta-Jones) washing their hair with beer. The hops contain silica – which is said to increase volume, strengthen hair and add lustre (or gloss). Your girlfriend will probably find this more interesting than you do.
12. Beer boosts your libido
There is a fine line to tread when it comes to drinking and sex. With too much alcohol you run the risk of being unable to perform at the crucial moment; which is ironic, as it can also cause people to try and mount anything that moves. The good thing is that you can get the aphrodisiac-like effects without crossing the line into full-blown beer goggle mode. The hops in beer make for a good relaxant and also raise libido. They can also regulate any hormone deficiencies – such as excess estrogen.
There you go then, plenty of reasons in the bank to say “yes” the next time you get invited out for a drink but don’t want it to interfere with your fitness routine. Just don’t go overboard, and you can safely rationalise your Friday night outing. Cheers to that!