In recent years, the media has demonised alcohol, with many sources claiming that beer is as bad for you as smoking. Is this true? Whilst there’s no denying that binge drinking isn’t healthy, there’s evidence to suggest that, in moderation, beer can be good for you. Here are four reasons why:
1. Beer Can Help You to Relax
In the UK, stress is one of the leading causes of disease and death. It’s important to relax at the end of the day and, for many people, a bottle or two of beer is the perfect way to unwind.
Furthermore, escaping to the pub for a pint after work has been associated with a range of health benefits. Maintaining healthy social networks is key to good health and, in order to make the most from them, we need to get out and have fun. Socialising keeps stress levels to a minimum, which improves the function of our immune system. So, next time you’ve had a tough day in the office, head to the pub to chat about it with friends over a pint and banish the guilt – it’s for your health, after all!
2. Beer Has Been Linked to the Prevention of Cancer
Researchers from the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg have found that beer may contribute to the prevention of cancer. This is thanks to xanthohumol, a powerful antioxidant found in one of beer’s key ingredients: hops. The xanthohumol was found to reduce the impact of the enzymes that cause cancer and it’s thought that, in some cases of breast and prostate cancer, it could act as a preventative. To get the maximum benefit, look for beers high in hops, such as traditional bitters and ales, such as Greene King’s IPA.
3. Beer Can Help Lower Cholesterol Levels
Not only is beer low in cholesterol, but it has also been found to lower cholesterol levels within the body, whilst boosting “good” cholesterol. The study found that participants consuming a beer each day had higher levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins), which is the good kind of cholesterol. When you have sufficient amounts of HDL cholesterol within the blood stream, this helps lower the amount of LDL (low density lipoproteins), or “bad’ cholesterol.
4. Beer Could Help You to Live Longer
Research has also suggested that a daily pint of beer could help you to live longer, as moderate drinkers have consistently been linked with a longer lifespan. The reason for this is currently unclear but, as stress is thought to be one of the largest contributors to disease, this could be one of the reasons. Don’t hold off on having a beer with your dinner for the sake of your health – it could be more detrimental in the long run.
It seems that beer isn’t as bad for us as we first thought. Of course, excessive consumption isn’t recommended – this has been linked with a wide array of health problems, from liver disease to alcoholism, and is also thought to be a major contributor to the current obesity epidemic. However, in moderation, beer can also provide a number of benefits. If you enjoy a beer, there’s absolutely no reason not to enjoy a glass or two in the evening. Moderation is key!