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Is Drinking Beer Good For You?

Beer has been around for ages. It has evolved from ale and now comes in various crafty forms. It has a very low amount of alcohol (5% on average). It is rich in minerals and contains polyphenols, which have antioxidant properties. Does this mean that drinking beer can have benefits? What about the side effects?

Here, we understand if beer can be good for you and discuss its nutritional profile, the ideal dose, and potential side effects. Keep reading.

Beer: How It Is Made

What started as ginger ale branched out into various drinks. All these beverages undergo fermentation, but the only difference is the ingredients used.

Beer is made using barley, water, yeast, and hops. While barley is the main ingredient, its signature bitterness comes from hops. However, brewing and fermenting the beer is time-consuming and needs the right temperature. Each factor affects the quality and taste of beer right until it is stored (1).

The potential benefits of beer can be attributed to its nutritional profile. We will explore the same in the next section.

Nutritional Profile Of Beer

One can of beer (356g) contains (2):

Energy 153 kcal
Carbohydrates 12.6g
Protein 1.6g
Potassium 96.1mg
Phosphorus 49.8mg
Magnesium 21.4mg
Calcium 14.2g
Choline 36 mg
Alcohol 3.9g

Beer also contains minerals like iron, fluoride, selenium, manganese, copper, and zinc, and vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, and B12)in trace amounts. It also has phenolic compounds that act as antioxidants.

Beer contains many essential minerals. But what health benefits does it offer? Let us find out in the following section.

Potential Health Benefits Of Drinking Beer

  1. May Help Lower Cholesterol

A study suggests that moderate beer intake may increase the antioxidant properties of HDL (good cholesterol). It also helps prevent the accumulation of cholesterol in the walls of blood vessels. Moreover, beer intake was also shown to reduce the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and cancers.  These benefits may be attributed to the presence of alcohol and polyphenols in beer (3),(4).

Beverages rich in polyphenols contain Bifidobacterium (probiotics). These bacteria can potentially restrict the growth of pathogenic bacteria and may also decrease plasma cholesterol levels. Moreover, a study suggests that the polyphenols in beer may possibly interact with gut microbiota. This is believed to play a major role in the potential health benefits of moderate beer intake (5). However, more studies are warranted in this regard.

  1. May Reduce Risk Of Cardiovascular Disease

Studies suggest that consuming beer moderately may have protective effects on the cardiovascular system. As stated above, beer may help lower cholesterol levels and prevent the accumulation of fat on the walls of blood vessels. This helps reduce blood pressure and cut the risk of cardiovascular disease. Moreover, moderate beer intake may also be safe in obese individuals. The beverage did not induce vascular endothelial dysfunction or weight gain in such individuals (3),(4).

  1. May Help Improve Memory And Cognition

Beer contains phytoestrogens, which are specific plant-derived substances (6). Phytoestrogens may inhibit the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and increase memory and cognitive function (7),(8). However, more research is warranted to understand if beer intake, in particular, may have any effect on memory or cognition. We do not recommend beer intake for the sole purpose of boosting one’s memory or cognitive health.

  1. May Help Strengthen Your Bones

Research suggests that moderate intake of alcohol or beer may improve bone mineral density (BMD). In a study, men consuming one to two drinks a day were found to have a greater hip BMD (3.4 to 4.5%) compared to non-drinkers. Similarly, postmenopausal women consuming more than two drinks of alcohol or wine had greater hip and spine BMD (5 to 8.3%) than non-drinkers (9).

However, men consuming more than two drinks per day had significantly lower hip and spine BMD than those consuming just one to two drinks (9). Hence, moderate intake is advised.

  1. May Help Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes

According to a study, moderate alcohol intake for six weeks was shown to reduce insulin resistance in postmenopausal women (10). However, this study was performed using white wine, and similar effects with beer are yet to be studied.

Another study found that men consuming two drinks (wine, beer, or spirits) a day and women taking about 1½ drinks a day had a lower risk of diabetes. Moreover, the findings also linked the frequency of alcohol intake to the risk of diabetes. The lowest risk of diabetes was found in those consuming alcohol 3 to 4 days per week (11).

  1. May Prevent Kidney Stones

A study shows that drinking a moderate amount of beer may reduce the risk of kidney stones (12). Each bottle of beer consumed per day was estimated to reduce the risk of their formation by 40%. However, further studies are warranted to understand this benefit of beer.

It is important to note that moderate beer intake may offer these benefits. However, excess consumption may lead to adverse effects.

Side Effects Of Drinking Beer In Excess

Consuming alcohol in excess may increase blood pressure. Reducing alcohol intake was found to decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients (13). Besides, alcohol intake may trigger gastro-esophageal reflux disease (stomach acid flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach) and cause heartburn and other complications (14).

Alcohol also interacts with medications and alters their metabolism. These interactions may also occur when alcohol is taken in moderate amounts. Many over-the-counter and herbal medications may also cause negative effects when taken with alcohol (15). Excess beer intake can also cause intoxication and hangover. Hence, moderation is key.

But how much beer is safe to drink a day? Continue reading to know the answer.

Recommended Daily Limit For Beer

A 330-ml beer can with 4% alcohol is considered a standard drink. Women can have no more than two standard drinks per day or 10 per week. Similarly, men can consume no more than three standard drinks per day or 15 per week. Men and women are also recommended to have at least two alcohol-free days per week (16).

The Bottom Line

Beer is one of the most consumed beverages in the world. Consuming it moderately may help reduce the risk of diabetes, improve heart health, lower cholesterol levels, and improve cognitive function. That said, more research is warranted to understand these benefits further. On the other hand, excess alcohol intake does not show any of these benefits and may instead cause many adverse effects. Heavy drinking may increase blood pressure and cause heartburn and intoxication. Exercise caution as alcohol may also interact with medications. Limit your intake.

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. A New Perspective on the Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6918268/
  2. Alcoholic beverage beer regular all
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168746/nutrients
  3. Moderate Beer Intake and Cardiovascular Health in Overweight Individuals
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30189619/
  4. Wine beer alcohol and polyphenols on cardiovascular disease and cancer
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22852062/
  5. A New Perspective on the Health Benefits of Moderate Beer Consumption: Involvement of the Gut Microbiota
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6918268/
  6. Alcoholic beverages as a source of estrogens
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15706799/
  7. Phytoestrogens and cognitive function: a review
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24486046/
  8. Does phytoestrogen supplementation affect cognition differentially in males and females?
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC3677816/
  9. Effects of beer wine and liquor intakes on bone mineral density in older men and women
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19244365/
  10. Moderate alcohol consumption increases insulin sensitivity and ADIPOQ expression in postmenopausal women: a randomised crossover trial
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18504547/
  11. Alcohol drinking patterns and risk of diabetes: a cohort study of 70551 men and women from the general Danish population
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28748324/
  12. Nutrient intake and use of beverages and the risk of kidney stones among male smokers
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10412964/
  13. Nutrient intake and use of beverages and the risk of kidney stones among male smokers
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10412964/
  14. Tobacco smoking alcohol consumption and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29195669/
  15. Alcohol and medication interactions
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10890797/
  16. Alcohol
    https://www.health.govt.nz/your-health/healthy-living/addictions/alcohol-and-drug-abuse/alcohol

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