It is world beer day. People have been drinking beer for thousands of years, but does it have any health benefits.
How is a beer produced?
It is made by brewing and fermenting cereal grains with yeast, hops and other flavourings. It is one of the oldest beverages globally, with recipes found in Egyptian Tombs and Babylonian texts.
We know that emerging research has shown that a small amount of wine could have health benefits, so does this mean it is the same for beer?
Beer does actually contain some vitamins and minerals, although in minimal amounts. Some of this is down to the fact that it is generally made from cereal, grains and yeast. However, I would like to stress that you need to drink a massive amount of it to reach your daily nutrient requirements. You are far better off eating whole foods like fruit and vegetables.
So are there any benefits to drinking beer?
May it benefit your heart?
Yes, several recent studies suggest that a light intake may be associated with a lower risk of heart disease. An evidence-based study of beer consumption, which is found here, indicated that one drink per day could lower heart disease, similar to that of wine.
It is important to note, though, that this is only for very light consumption. Heavy consumption can increase your risk of heart disease and also stroke.
It may also help with Bone Strength.
Very early research has suggested that a moderate amount of beer may help strengthen bones in men and postmenopausal women. It is known that alcohol, in moderate amounts, in general, can help your bones. This benefit does sharply drop, though, when you have more than two drinks a day.
There are some downsides to drinking too much. Some of which are:-
These include an increased risk of early death than moderate to nondrinkers.
Weight gain, as a standard 355ml beer contains an average of 153 calories, so consuming multiple drinks can cause weight gain.
To reduce the risk of adverse health consequences, it is always best to limit your alcohol intake to no more than one standard drink for women and 2 for men.
So is beer really good for you?
Well, possibly in small amounts. Be warned that heavy or binge drinking is associated with adverse health effects, including cancer, depression and weight gain. Even though drinking beer can have some benefits, you can get these benefits and more by eating a rich diet of whole foods like fruits and vegetables, which are nutrient-rich. If you choose to have a beer, a light beer may be a better option as it has slightly fewer calories and less alcohol.