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Beer Drinking Tips – The Health Benefits of Beer

Many of the studies that document the beneficial effects of alcohol have highlighted the virtues of red wine. Only recently has beer come to the foreground as a health-giving beverage. The published research papers cited below provide ample evidence that beer, when consumed moderately, may be even more salutary than wine.

Healthy Effects of Alcohol

The overall picture that has emerged is that consumption of alcohol in moderation is excellent for the cardiovascular system. Its consumption is associated with elevated levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDL). Many drinkers have also been found to have less fibrinogen, a protein thought to be a culprit in the occurrence of strokes and thromboses. Alcohol has also been known to lower insulin levels, which in turn lessens the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which the arteries harden.

Several experiments, such as one conducted at the Institute of Epidemiology at the University of Münster in Germany, suggest that beer may lessen the risk of coronary disease. But a number of other studies demonstrate that the benefits of beer go beyond those attributed to the alcohol it contains.

Research from the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute in the Netherlands showed that levels of vitamin B6 in beer drinkers increased thirty percent while those who regularly consumed gin and red wine gained by only half that rate.

Study findings published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s July 2001 issue suggest that the presence of folate, the anion form of vitamin B9, is responsible for some of beer’s healthful effects. Folates have been known to fight cardiovascular disease.

One study conducted at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and published in a 2001 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine concluded that beer consumed in moderation aided in the preservation of mental capacities in older women.

A study from Tufts University in Massachusetts shows that drinking beer, be it light or dark, helps to maintain the mineral density of the bones. The leg bones among elderly people are prone to thinning.

Risks Associated With Beer

What about the health risks associated with beer consumption?

There is enough evidence from research about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome to warrant prohibiting women from drinking alcohol. A baby may suffer from brain disorders if the alcohol consumed by the mother passes through the umbilical cord and through the milk in her breasts.

Gaining weight can be a concern for beer drinkers. While beer contains no stout, one glass will have 150 to 450 calories, depending on the kind of brew. Counted in terms of volume, this amount is lower than the calories found in apple juice or red wine in a glass of similar size.

Other known adverse effects of excessive beer drinking include liver hurt and stress on the kidneys. Amount of intake is, of course, a key factor in whether beer becomes a healthy or unhealthy drink.

Immediate Effects

Coffee is an example of a beverage that contains a less-than-desirable substance (caffeine) yet immediately provides benefits when taken in the right amount. The alertness that caffeine causes can be advantageous at work and when driving.

Drinking beer in excess does result in lowered mental acuity in the immediate aftermath, making automobile driving a high-risk undertaking. But when intake is moderate, beer becomes a relaxing drink that provides relief from stress, a known causative element in many diseases. It helps to remember that the drawbacks of intemperate drinking outweigh the advantages of controlled alcoholic beverage consumption.

The alcohol in beer provides modest B vitamins amounts, plus more useful quantities of magnesium, selenium and other trace elements. Beer is mostly water, which along with the alcohol, helps to cleanse the kidneys. Alcohol and the brewing process also help ruin bacteria in the water.

Needless to say, no single study or report on the health effects of beer can be considered definitive. But most suggest, that when taken in amounts exceeding no more than two 12-ounce glasses a day, beer will nearly always be a fantastic benefit, rather than a risk, to one’s health.

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