I spent last weekend in Boonville for their annual campathon and beer fest so figured I would write a post on the health benefits of beer. Before my short stint at the Bistro in Hayward, I was unaware of the delicious variety of beer and its warm community. In October of 2008 I worked at their annual wet hop festival and it forever elevated my palate to the IPA-loving woman I am today. Moylan’s Wet Hopsickle was the drink that sealed the deal for me. I love beer for its delicate balance of sweet malt and bitter, fragrant hops, but knowing its health benefits* sure help justify my imbibing:
Beer and your bones
Beer is rich in silicon, a trace element that plays an important role in bone formation, bone density and connective tissue health. During the mashing process, silicon is made readily bioavailable. Other dietary sources of silicon include whole grains, fruits and vegetables such as green beans and bananas, and legumes.
Beer and fiber? Made from barley, beer contains beta-glucans — a type of soluble fiber credited with improving heart health by lowering cholesterol levels. A 12 ounce bottle of lager sports 0.75 grams of fiber while the same amount of dark beer boasts 1.3 grams.
It’s vitamin B-licious
Beer is an excellent source of B vitamins such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, B6 and B12. One 12-ounce beer supplies 3% of the B12 and 12.5% of the B6 you need in a day. These nutrients support your body’s metabolism and help it produce essential substances, such as neurotransmitters and red blood cells.
Those who drink one to two alcoholic drinks of any kind are less likely to suffer from heart disease. Experts believe alcohol improves heart health by making blood less “sticky” so it's less likely to clot by increasing levels of good HDL cholesterol while lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol.
Hops fight cancer
Hops are an acquired taste for some, but reconsider their bitterness and in return get a dose of cancer-fighting antioxidants! Hops contain the flavonoid compound called xanthohumol that has interesting cancer chemopreventive properties (i.e it inhibits, reverses or retards tumor growth).
I will leave you with the Oatmeal’s 20 things worth knowing about beer. Gotta love this comic.
*Most of these health benefits pertain to moderate drinking, 1-2 drinks per day. Beer's calories and carbohydrates also pose a dilemma for those striving to manage their weight. The average light beer has about 110 calories per bottle while a pint of flavorful craft beer can have up to 250. But how much flavor are you willing to sacrifice to save a few calories? In my opinion, life is too short for crappy beer. Drink mindfully, keep active, get enough sleep and don’t stress about it. More on managing calories in another post.
Hello and welcome! My name is Andrea Notch Mayzeles. I am a Certified Health Education Specialist, Mom, and Master of Public Health dedicated to the path of well-being. As a wellness professional I am committed to continued learning and am here to share research, recipes and musings on health, psychology, personal development, and parenting. I hope you enjoy!