Health Benefits of Beer

Red wine usually gets credit as the healthier tipple. But what about beer? Does it have any of the same health benefits that wine can confer? Or some of its own? Since Oktoberfest is upon us, I decided to find out. Beer does have some health boons (more on that below), but before raising a toast to this bubbly beverage, a caveat is in order: While moderate drinking can protect against some diseases, it can also increase your risk of certain diseases (women who drink any amount of alcohol, for instance, have a higher risk of breast cancer than those who are teetotalers). If you drink, make sure you stick to the recommendations for "moderate" drinking — no more than one drink a day for women, two for men. A drink counts as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard alcohol. Drink more than that and your risk for disease and ill health starts to jump.

Now for the good news:

It’s a heart y drink: Any type of alcohol in moderate amounts can help lower your risk of heart disease by helping to lower blood pressure and increasing "good" HDL cholesterol and lowering "bad" LDL cholesterol.

It has nutrients: Beer is made from grains, such as barley, so it makes sense that it contains some of the same nutrients you’d find in grains, including B vitamins, protein and even fiber. A 12-ounce beer has 1 to 2 grams of protein and up to 1 gram of fiber (which isn't all that much, but still!). Darker beer tends to have more fiber than lighter beer.

It’s a bone builder: Beer contains silicon, a compound that helps create strong bones. Silicon is also found in cereals, whole grains and green beans. Beer also has phosphorous and magnesium — two other minerals in your body that are needed for building bones. Too much alcohol can weaken bones, though, so again, keep it moderate.

It lowers your risk of certain diseases: Like wine, moderate beer drinking is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and some types of cancer. The antioxidants in beer are likely responsible for these effects. Beer is made from barley and hops, which give beer a different antioxidant profile than wine, which is usually made from grapes.

It’s hydrating: Since beer has less alcohol per volume than wine or spirits, a serving of it counts toward your total water intake for the day. Alcohol is dehydrating in larger amounts, though, so if you’re drinking more than one beer, or another type of alcoholic beverage, make sure to drink water too!

It’s good for your kidneys: Some research has shown that men who drink beer — compared with other types of alcohol — have a lower risk of kidney stones. Apparently the combination of high water content and being a diuretic might help keep kidneys healthy.

Prost!

Kerri-Ann is a registered dietitian and nutrition coach who writes on food and health trends. Find more of her work at kerriannjennings.com or follow her on Twitter @kerriannrd or Facebook.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Happy Chinese New Year! and Congrats on Not Being Eaten Alive

Get Cooking Channel's mouthwatering Chinese feast from Ching's Chinese New Year that’s sure to bring you good luck in the year of the snake.

Health Benefits of Pumpkin

Pumpkins are healthier than you might think. Cooking Channel shares why they are surprisingly nutritous.

Health Benefits of Apples

While they may not seem like nutritional superstars compared to flashier fruits like blueberries and oranges, apples actually deliver a lot of health benefits, making them a fruit that should be in your regular diet too.

On TV

Cheap Eats

10am | 9c

Cheap Eats

10:30am | 9:30c

Cheap Eats

11am | 10c

Cheap Eats

11:30am | 10:30c

Unique Eats

12pm | 11c

Unique Eats

12:30pm | 11:30c

Unique Eats

1pm | 12c

Unique Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Good Eats

2pm | 1c

Good Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Carnival Eats

6:30pm | 5:30c

Carnival Eats

7:30pm | 6:30c

Carnival Eats

8:30pm | 7:30c

Carnival Eats

9:30pm | 8:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Carnival Eats

10pm | 9c

Carnival Eats

10:30pm | 9:30c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Carnival Eats

12am | 11c

Carnival Eats

12:30am | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1am | 12c

Carnival Eats

1:30am | 12:30c

Carnival Eats

2:30am | 1:30c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c
What's Hot
What's Hot

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

New Episodes Mondays 9|8c

So Much Pretty Food Here