Beer: Health Benefits and Risks

By Christian Manasci

One does not necessarily associate beer with health and fitness. In fact, it often conjures up images of fat, lazy people with beer bellies. Yet beer is actually one of the healthiest alcoholic drinks out there.

While many believe that wine epitomizes the healthy alcoholic drink, recent studies have shown that beer contains approximately the same quantity of antioxidants as red wine. Certain types of beer (mostly dark beers) also include vitamins that can help the muscle rebuilding process.

Silicon is another nutritious element found in beer. A glass of brew can contain between 33 and 60 mg of silica, which is excellent for healthy bones, teeth, nails and hair. Beer is also composed of soluble fibers called beta-glucans, a type of nutrient that not many people are familiar with. Derived from the cell walls of malted barley, these fibers are known to aid digestion.

Furthermore, according to recent studies, the alcohol in beer increases insulin activity, which helps protect individuals against type-2 diabetes. It can also lower the risk of kidney stones, due to its high water content and diuretic effect.

And it doesn’t stop there: In addition to physiological benefits, it seems that drinking beer helps fight dementia and reduces the risk of mental decline, while also increasing an individual’s average lifespan. According to a study by C.W. Bamforth called Beer: Health and Nutrition, “if European beer drinkers stopped imbibing, there would be a decrease of two years in life expectancy.”

Though beer can be mixed with other drinks to create cocktails (a personal favorite is the Submarine drink, which consists of a shot of tequila in a glass of beer), some mixes are not recommended, such as beer combined with caffeine and taurine.

These malt-based alcoholic beverages seek to emulate the taste of other water-based energy drinks and are considered extremely unhealthy. This is mainly due to two factors. The first one is that while alcohol is considered a “downer” – it has a relaxing, tranquilizing effect and makes you less responsive – caffeine and taurine are “uppers” that increase alertness. Combining both in a drink will lead to your body becoming confused by the mixed messages: Basically, your brain and heart are going to speed up and slow down at the same time. On top of that, since alcohol and energy drinks are both diuretic, your body becomes even more dehydrated. The worst-case scenario in this situation actually involves a heart attack and death.

It becomes clear that if you want to enjoy beer and its health benefits, it is advisable not to mix it with energy drinks that contain caffeine and taurine. As for drinking a regular beer, the key is moderation. Consuming too much beer – or any type of alcohol for that matter – is unhealthy and can reverse many of the positives and benefits mentioned above. For example, drinking a pint of beer per day has been shown to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease. This is a result of the increased HDL – the good cholesterol in the body.  On the other hand, drinking more than a pint a day has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. So by all means, enjoy the great taste and health benefits of beer, just don’t overdo it!

About the Author:
Christian Manasci is a blogger and beer enthusiast. He is passionate about sports, social media and online marketing. He currently works with new energy beer brand Biryt Energy Beer, which is free of caffeine and taurine.

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