5 Healthy Reasons To Have a Beer Today

Mon23Aug10

How your heart, brain, and bones may benefit from moderate consumption.

5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Man drinking beer (© Image Source/Getty Images)
Feeling the urge to stop by the local watering hole for happy hour tonight? While some opt for wine because it’s the healthier, less-likely-to-make-you-feel-bloated-tomorrow option, the summer heat may have you craving a tall cool beer.
While drinking until you’re smashed is linked to all sorts of badness (including breast cancer), beer in moderation (two drinks or less) actually has some real health benefits. So steer clear of the beer bong and have a couple of pints with a clear consciencehere are five legit ways to justify tonight’s Coronas.
5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Bone with osteoporosis progression (© Kevin A Somerville/Phototake Science/Photolibrary)
It May Prevent Osteoporosis
Researchers at the University of California took on the very tough job of analyzing 100 commercially-available beers. They found that most of them contained enough silicon to benefit bone health (past studies have found that women who are light to moderate beer drinkers have better bone density than non-beer drinkers). Recommended daily dose: No more than two cold ones. And opt for Ales and Pale Ales, which have higher levels of the bone-bolstering silicon than darker varieties.
5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Heart with coronary plaque (© Carol Donner/Phototake Science/Photolibrary)
It May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

A number of studies have shown that moderate consumption of alcohol–beer included–may lower your risk of heart disease. In one Harvard study, healthy-minded types who rated their alcohol intake as moderate had 40 to 60 percent lower incidence of heart attack.

5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Transport of cholesterol via high density lipoproteins in the blood(© 3D4Medical.com/Getty Images)
Hops May Lower Cholesterol

Research has found that hops–the bitter flavor that balances out the sweetness of beer– is a great source of polyphenols, which lower bad cholesterol, fight cancer, and give your immune system a boost. This particular study was funded by a beer association (And, fun fact: The subjects were nuns!), but its findings have been backed up by unaffiliated experts who agree that, in moderation, the polyphenols in beer may have a positive effect on HDL and LDL.

5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Heart  (© The Science Picture Company/Science Faction/Getty Images)
It’s a Brain Bev

A study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that moderate drinking may be associated with better brain function. Women who consumed up to two drinks a day scored 20 percent higher on a cognitive functioning test than those who had less than one drink.

5 Healthy Reasons to Have a Beer Today // Smiling woman holding a bottled beer (© Tetra Images/Getty Images)
It Can Keep You Hydrated
Researchers at Granada University in Spain say that beer beats water when it comes to hydration. Subjects ran on a treadmill in 104-degree temps until they couldn’t take it anymore, then their hydration levels, motor skills, and ability to concentrate were measures. Half of the runners were given two half pints of Spanish lager while the other half were given good ol’ H2O. The beer drinkers scored slightly better–a result that’s attributed to sugars salts, and bubbles in the beer enhancing the body’s ability to soak up water. As a bonus, the carbs replaced the calories they just sweated out. I’m going to stick to water post-workout, but at least I can feel confident that a few drinks tonight won’t completely sabotage my workout tomorrow.
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