What About Beer
Keep health conditions at bay with a pint (or two) a day
“Mary Poppins” taught us that “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” But sugar’s gotten a bad rap lately – and what if we could actually prevent some of these conditions before you even need to take medicine? These days, we’re advocating 12 ounces of prevention instead.
A number of recent studies point to the beneficial aspects of drinking beer in moderation. Psst, you might want to read those last two words again. I know most of us want to believe that if one or two brews is good for you, then four or five should do your body great, right? Wrong, the benefits that follow were found after subjects consumed up to two drinks a day. More than that can actually do more harm than good.
Raise a glass or two to:
- Lower your risk of having a stroke or cardiovascular disease[i] – by slowing the decline of HDL, the “good cholesterol,” making your arteries more flexible and improving blood flow. Those who drink moderate amounts of beer can reduce their risk of having a stroke compared to nondrinkers.
- Decrease the incidence of heart attacks (with dark ales and stouts)[ii] – by keeping your arteries clear of cholesterol and other fatty substances.
- Strengthen your bones[iii] – High levels of silicon, which promotes bone growth, are found in beer. Moderation is critical though; if you drink more than one or two beverages a day you actually heighten your risk of breaking a bone.
- Dodge diabetes[iv] – by increasing insulin sensitivity and providing soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar. Middle-aged men who enjoy one or two beers a day can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Keep your brain healthy[v] – Those who enjoy a few daily beers can be less likely to develop cognitive impairment, Alzheimer’s disease, or other forms of dementia – although experts aren’t entirely sure why. One possible reason is the silicon content in beer, which may help protect the brain from negative effects of aluminum in the body.
- Sleep better[vi] – Ales, stouts, and lagers apparently stimulate dopamine production, making beer drinkers feel calmer and more relaxed after even a small taste of the beverage. Caveat: These results were discovered after the consumption of a single tablespoon of beer.
- Reduce your likelihood of developing kidney stones[vii] – by flushing out toxins and preventing calcium buildup in the kidneys.
- Prevent cataracts[viii] – Antioxidants found in beer, ales and stouts in particular, help prevent the mitochondrial damage that leads to the formation of cataracts.
- Minimize your risk of getting cancer[ix] – thanks to a compound known as xanthohumol.
- Boost hair health[x] – A typical single serving of beer contains 10 milligrams or more of silicon, a mineral thought to increase circulation to the scalp, slow hair loss, and increase brightness.
Just about the only thing beer isn’t qualified to do is help you get swimsuit-ready. However, moderation and a healthy lifestyle are key to reaping the greatest benefits. So eat your leafy greens (we hear a frothy adult beverage really brings out their flavor), fit in your cardio four times a week, and make sure you get enough shut-eye. All that and a little luck and you won’t need to “make any medicine go down.”
A nod to our local favorites:
Beer and patio time at Odell’s! Deric [Dr. McIntosh] loves the Runoff Red and Loose Leaf, while I love Tree Shaker. But neither of us will ever turn down an Easy Street with an orange on a hot summer day.
Hanging out by the pool with a fruity IPA, like Citradelic by New Belgium, is my favorite! Odell’s also puts out some amazing sours.
Currently my favorite local beer is the French Oak Saison from New Belgium; barrel-aged beers and sours provide well-balanced, distinct flavors that send your pallet on a journey with every sip. New Belgium continues to deliver great indoor and outdoor hangout spots paired with amazing local food trucks, making it the ideal place to be on a hot summer day.
For optimal benefit, might we suggest you take a two-wheeled trip to your nearest brewery patio? Outside magazine just named Fort Collins the “Best Bike-to-Happy-Hour Town.”