You have probably heard that beer offers some health benefits. It's been speculated (and even studied in the past) that beer provides some important advantages for the human body. However, a newly released ADA (American Dietetic Association) study takes things a bit further. In fact, they go so far as to enumerate some of the most beneficial things about that beloved beverage. How, exactly, does beer help you?
Kick Cholesterol in the Butt
One of the most important benefits of drinking beer is the fact that it actually lowers LDL cholesterol (that's the bad stuff). It also raises HDL cholesterol (the good type). Reducing LDL cholesterol is an important step in fighting heart disease, an affliction suffered by one in three American adults.
Drinking moderate amounts of beer has also been shown to help reduce the chance of blood clots forming in the body. These can lead to some incredibly frightening medical problems. For instance, if a clot breaks free, it can travel through the body and lodge in the heart, causing a heart attack. If the clot moves into the brain, the result is a stroke, which can leave you permanently debilitated or even kill you.
Gallstones, Kidney Stones and Diabetes
Interestingly, beer has been shown to provide protection from developing both gallstones and Type 2 diabetes. It also helps protect you against kidney stones. The diuretic effect of beer (the pee syndrome), helps to flush the kidneys, and it seems that hops might also help to prevent the release of calcium from bones (a cause of kidney stones). Finally, beer also contains between 2 and 3 grams of fiber, as well as protein (unlike wine), which helps to keep you healthier.
There are a few caveats stipulated by the ADA, though. First, moderation is key. Drinking too much beer doesn't offer any greater protection than drinking just a few, and puts you at risk for other medical conditions (think cirrhosis of the liver). On top of that, it seems that you'll derive the most health benefits from craft beers, rather than those mass-produced beverages. If that's not encouragement to go out and try a local artisan brew, then what is?
There you have it – beer is a deeply ingrained part of culture and history, and it also helps keep you healthy. The ADA has actually implicated that beer drinking might be preferable to red wine – so drink up!