Is beer good or rather bad for your health? Should we limit beer consumption or we can drink it without too much fear of weight gain and other health issues and just enjoy the health benefits of beer which we outlined below? In any case, these questions are subject of strong discussions between those who love and those who don’t like this drink, while many studies have focused on the topic.
Of course, we all know that alcohol abuse is harmful to health, and its consumption, even moderated, is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, adolescents and people having any health risk (those prone to addiction, people with chronic illnesses, addicted to drugs, etc.).
According to some sources, beer would increase the risk of cancer. As the beverage is with high content of purine, it is really not advisable to drink it when you suffer from gout, because the degradation of purine by the body produces uric acid (which crystallizes in the joints and causes inflammation and pain). Alcohol also affects memory and concentration, among other negative effects.
Having that in mind, when we summarize the results of the numerous studies on the subject we can say that they actually don’t support the opponents of beer, and conclude that if you drink moderately, beer is not harmful for your health. Additionally the studies found that drinking beer has much more benefits than disadvantages.
What drinking beer in moderation actually means?
It’s often believed that moderate alcohol consumption should not exceed one or two standard drinks per day for women, and two or three glasses for the men, with at least two days per week of abstinence from alcohol. However, it is not a limiting rule that is valid for all people, because different bodies have different tolerance to alcohol among many other factors that can determine the personal alcohol drinking limits.
The gender of a drinking person is also important (women are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than men), but many other elements come into consideration: the percent of alcohol (a glass of beer with 5% of alcohol don’t have the same effect as a beer with 10%), the person’s weight (especially body fat), age, and many other factors (whether you drink on an empty stomach or have eaten before that, whether you suffer from fatigue, if you are taking medications, etc.).
The concept of “healthy moderation” is so fluctuating, and it is not possible to be expressed by numbers and determine exact quantities for limitation that would be valid for all.
What’s in beer?
The main components of beer are malt (barley sprout), water, hops and yeast. So, its a natural product without preservatives, without salt or fat. The beer contains a lot of vitamins and minerals (including magnesium, silicium and potassium). Seen in this light, the beer is a particularly healthy drink with many beneficial ingredients.
Among all alcoholic beverages, the classic beer is with the least caloric content, with 40 to 60 kcal per 100 g (about 10 cl), mainly due to the alcohol content. In comparison, red wine contains on average 80 kcal for the same amount, but a glass of wine is obviously with a little bit more alcohol than a glass of beer.
Avoid eating snacks that are too fat when you drink your beer, because the body focuses first on eliminating the alcohol before taking on the load and start burning fat from food. A little “plus” is that beer increases the feeling of satiety. Finally, the beer is a good source of antioxidants (but two times less than the red wine), they come from the hops and malt which are the main ingredients of beer.
What are the beer health benefits?
As we mentioned earlier the moderate consumption of beer has many health benefits.
Here are some of the benefits each ingredient of beer has:
⦁ Barley provides vitamin B and soluble fibres that promote the proper intestinal function, lowering cholesterol and thereby limits the risk of cardiovascular disease.
⦁ Yeast also provides B vitamins, especially B1, B6 and B9 (folic acid), which help to maintain a low level of the rate of homocysteine in blood, which decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease (homocysteine is a pro-inflammatory substance responsible for the development of atherosclerosis). Vitamin B also promotes healthy skin and hair. Finally, the yeast found in beer is a good source of vitamin B12.
⦁ Hops contains lupulin, a yellowish substance with soothing properties, which helps combat stress and depression. This is also the reason why the pillows in the past for a long time were filled with hops. Hops has anti-inflammatory properties, and also have, according to Chinese scientists, some interesting effects against Alzheimer disease, and Parkinson’s.
⦁ In respect of minerals, the combination of a high magnesium and low calcium is great for the heart and arteries, and also helps to combat gallstones and kidney stones. The combination between a high content of potassium and low in calcium help, as for it, to fight hypertension. The silicon would play a positive role against osteoporosis, even if on this plan, the opinions are nuanced.
⦁ Studies have also suggested that a moderate intake of beer reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
⦁ Alcohol thins the blood and acts preventively against the cerebral vascular accident (STROKE). Ethanol has a positive effect on the metabolism of cholesterol, and increases “good”(HDL) cholesterol, while degrading the “bad “(LDL) cholesterol.
⦁ The diuretic effects of the beer are obvious, not only because of its high water content (90%), but also because, like all alcohol, it lowers the production of ADH, a hormone that promotes reabsorption of water by the body (this process occurs also in the “hangover” associated with a strong dehydration).
And as said so many years ago, Paracelsus, a famous swiss chemist: “All things are poison and nothing is poison, only the dose makes that something is poison. ‘In other words, the excess of anything is harmful.
In conclusion, enjoy your drink in moderation so you can feel the beer health benefits and not harming your body by abusing it for a prolonged period of time.