Beer drinkers rejoice: Your
favorite brew may be healthier than you think.
For years, wine drinkers have
indulged without guilt, reveling in the news that red wine can help protect
against heart disease. Recent research shows that beer can also be good for
what ails you, from reducing risk for
broken bones to helping warding off diabetes and mental decline. It can even
increase longevity, a large study suggests.
However, the key to tapping into beer’s
benefits is moderation, meaning just one 12-ounce beer per day for women and
two for men. Heavy drinking ups the threat of liver damage, some cancers, and
heart problems. Bingeing on brewskis can also make you fat, since a 12-ounce
regular beer has about 150 calories, while light beer has about 100.
Here are 10 surprising—and
healthy—reasons to cheer about your next beer.
1. Stronger Bones
Beer contains high
levels of silicon, which is linked to bone health. In a 2009 study
at Tufts University and other centers, older men and women who swigged one or
two drinks daily had higher bone density, with the greatest benefits found in
those who favored beer or wine. However, downing more than two drinks was
linked to increased risk for
For the best bone-building benefits, reach for pale ale, since a
2010 study of 100 types of beer from around the word identified these brews as
richest in silicon, while light lagers and non-alcoholic beers contained the
2. A Stronger Heart
A 2011 analysis
of 16 earlier studies involving more than 200,000 people, conducted by
researchers at Italy’s Fondazion di Ricerca e Cura, found a 31 percent reduced
risk of heart disease in those who quaffed about a pint of beer daily, while
risk surged in those who guzzled higher amounts of alcohol, whether beer, wine,
More than 100 studies also show that moderate drinking trims risk
of heart attacks and dying from cardiovascular disease by 25 to 40 percent,
A beer or two a day can help raise levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol that
helps keep arteries from getting clogged.