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After a long day at work, you prepare dinner and grab your favorite beer from the fridge. But did you know that you may actually be improving your health with your favorite fizzy beverage? Or is healthy beer just a fantasy?
Studies show that there are numerous health benefits to drinking beer. While this may seem shocking, the good news is that beer can improve your health.
So now you're wondering if some beers are better for you. Maybe you're trying to figure out how many beers a week is best for your health. Or maybe you prefer one type of beer over the others.
Does that impact how healthy the beer is?
We'll cover all of those questions about your favorite beers in this article so that you know which beer to indulge in at the end of the day.
Is There Such a Thing as Healthy Beer?
Healthy beer – is that even possible? Though it may sound counter-intuitive, the hoppy beverage does have health its advantages.
In moderation, beer can be good for your health. The form of silicon found in beer is easily digestible. This is the same type of silicon found in many grains and beans.
Studies show that silicon is good for many parts of your body. Drinking beer can boost your brain, bone, heart, and eye health.
Beer can also serve as a preventative. It can boost your immune system and gut health for numerous health benefits.
In general, there are three types of healthy beer.
Heart-friendly beer is brewed with heart health in mind. Sometimes fruits are added to these brews to boost heart health.
Gluten-free beer can offer a wide beer selection for people who suffer from gluten intolerance. With gluten-free beer, you can avoid the nasty health side effects that other, gluten-rich beers can come with.
There are also brain-healthy beers. Beers rich in protein, vitamin B, iron, niacin, riboflavin, and magnesium can boost brain health. A word to the wise – heavy consumption can actually do the opposite.
So the answer is yes, beer can be healthy! The trick to reaping these benefits is to consume beer in moderation. We'll cover the recommended consumption limits later on in this article.
The Health Benefits of Drinking Beer
So now that we've established that beer can be healthy, let's look at what beer can do for you.
Despite what you may think, beer can be good for your heart. Beer helps reduce the risk of inflammation and thins your blood. While this characteristic may not be helpful for people who already struggle with thin blood, it can reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.
Beer may also aid in losing weight. Beer contains a naturally occurring ingredient called xanthohumol. This chemical flavanoid can help you lose weight.
Beer can also help you lower your cholesterol levels. Xanthohumol helps lower cholesterol, but that's not all. Beer also increases the levels of lipoprotein in your body. This is the good kind of cholesterol that can help prevent plaque buildup in your heart and arteries. Additionally, beer also has a high fiber content. A diet rich in fiber can help reduce your LDL cholesterol levels.
That high fiber content doesn't just help your cholesterol. Beer can help promote improved bowel functions. A typical serving of beer can contain up to 20 percent of your daily fiber need.
Beer can also help reduce your risk of cancer.
That same xanthohumol that helps to lower your cholesterol can help reduce the risk of cancer. The polyphenols found in beer are also used to prevent and treat cancer.
Beer can also preserve your mental health. Drinking beer can make you feel more calm and relaxed. This is due to the increased levels of dopamine that beer triggers in the brain. Higher levels of dopamine help to ward off diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
In moderation, beer can also help preserve your eyesight. Special enzymes and antioxidants found in beer minimize the risk of developing a cataract. They do this by preventing mitochondrial damage.
The high levels of potassium and magnesium in beer can help reduce your risk of developing kidney stones. Beer gets another kidney health boost because it is made mostly of water. One study found that a daily beer reduces your chance for developing kidney stones by 40 percent.
The silicon in beer can also help improve bone density. Higher bone density can reduce your risk of osteoporosis later in life.
Beer is also rich in vitamin B6. This special vitamin helps prevent heart disease by controlling the formation of homocysteine in the body.
As you may already know, beer can help if you struggle with insomnia. Lactoflavin and nicotinic acid help promote a more restful, deep sleep. Beer is rich in both of these nutrients.
Beer can also improve skin and hair health. Studies show that the special mixture of vitamins in beer helps to prevent and correct acne. Beer drinkers also reported an improved glow to their skin. The hops and malt present in most beers can also help promote the growth of naturally healthy hair.
Beer can also act as an anti-aging tonic. Beer helps to increase the levels of vitamin E in your body. This special antioxidant helps keep the skin healthy and slow down the aging process.
Because beer has diuretic properties, it can also help your body flux out toxins. Drinking beer increases the frequency of urination. This helps the body purge toxins quickly and more regularly.
Is Dark Beer Better for You?
Many people opt for the lighter, less filling beers with fewer calories. While this may seem logical, studies show that dark beer may be better for you.
Darker beer is richer in flavonoids. These little nutrients are some of the most powerful antioxidants. This is the same antioxidant that can be found in superfoods, like nuts and berries.
These flavonoids are great for heart health. The concept is the same with wine as well. That is why red wine is typically recommended for improved heart health.
As a rule of thumb, the darker the beverage, the more flavonoids it contains. To double the effect of flavonoids, drink dark beer with your meals.
When we consume food, our metabolisms break down the food and create free radicals in the process of digestion. The flavonoids can counteract these free radicals. You will get the most health benefits from dark beer during meal time.
The Top 10 Healthiest Beers to Drink
Now that we've covered the potential health benefits of beer, let's look at which beers are the healthiest options.
At the top of the list is Pacifico. It has fewer calories than a can of soda and only 12 grams of carbohydrates.
Guinness comes in at number 2. With only 128 calories, Guinness is a great source of fiber. It has nearly double the fiber content as some light beer counterparts.
3. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is number three on our list. Low in calories and carbs, this beer is chock full of phytochemicals. These are the same nutrients that are found in all sorts of healthy fruits and veggies.
4. Sam Adams Light Lager
Sam Adams Light Lager ranks fourth. It boasts only 119 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates. It also has a higher alcohol content than most other beers.
5. Abita Purple Haze
Abita Purple Haze is number five on our list. This beer is chock full of antioxidants thanks to its special brewing technique. Purple Haze is brewed with fresh raspberries for a healthy and fresh tasting beer.
6. Left Hand Good Juju
Left Hand Good Juju is brewed with fresh ginger. This beer ranks sixth thanks to its superfood properties. Who knew beer could aid in digestion?
7. Yuengling Lager
Number seven is Yuengling Lager. High in fiber and antioxidants, this healthy beer has only 135 calories per serving.
8. New Belgium Sunshine Wheat
New Belgium Sunshine Wheat is number 8. It is low in carbs and low in calories with a whopping 4.8 percent alcohol content.
9. Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA
Flying Dog Snake Dog IPA ranks ninth on our list. It has one of the highest alcohol contents on the list with 7.10 percent. But it has a meager 188 calories per bottle making this a healthy beer choice.
10. Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA
Finally, number 10 is Deschutes Chainbreaker White IPA. With 5.6 percent alcohol content and 10.8 grams of carbohydrates, this is one healthy Belgian IPA.
How Many Drinks a Week is Healthy?
There are many questions about how many drinks you should consume per week. Most people overestimate the recommended limit.
The limit has been revised recently. Original estimations were based on a concept called “The French Paradox”.
Historically, French culture boasts a cuisine often filled with saturated fats, dairy, and meats. This is not necessarily a diet that promotes longevity.
However, the common assumption was that this unhealthy diet was offset by the increased consumption of red wine. Therefore, more drinking was better for your health, right?
The current recommended limit is one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Studies show that drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week can lead to an increased risk of death.
Beer can be good for your health. The key is moderation. Making sure you limit your alcohol intake is best for your health. By limiting yourself to only one drink per day, you can reap the health benefits of beer. So it's time to sit back, relax, and enjoy that glass of beer while you improve your health!
What's your favorite way to enjoy healthy beer? Feel free to share your thoughts down below!