3. Healthier KidneysA study in Finland singled out beer among other alcoholic drinks, finding that each bottle of beer men drank daily lowered their risk of developing kidney stones by 40 percent. One theory is that beer’s high water content helped keep kidneys working, since dehydration increases kidney stone risk.
It’s also possible that the hops in beer help curb leeching of calcium from bones; that “lost” calcium also could end up in the kidneys as stones.
4. Boosting Brain HealthA beer a day may help keep Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia at bay, researchers say.
A 2005 studytracking the health of 11,000 older women showed that moderate drinkers (those who consumed about one drink a day) lowered their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent, compared to non-drinkers. In addition, older women who downed a drink a day scored as about 18 months “younger,” on average, on tests of mental skills than the non-drinkers.
5. Reduced Cancer RiskA Portuguese study found that marinating steak in beer eliminates almost 70 percent of the carcinogens, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) produced when the meat is pan-fried. Researchers theorize that beer’s sugars help block HCAs from forming.
Scientists also have found that beer and wine contain about the same levels of antioxidants, but the antioxidants are different because the flavonoids found in hops and grapes are different.
6. Boosting Vitamin LevelsA Dutch study, performed at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, found that beer-drinking participants had 30 percent higher levels of vitamin B6 levels in their blood than their non-drinking counterparts, and twice as much as wine drinkers. Beer also contains vitamin B12 and folic acid.
7. Guarding Against StrokeResearchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that moderate amounts of alcohol, including beer, help prevent blood clots that block blood flow to the heart, neck and brain—the clots that cause ischemic stroke, the most common type
8. Reduced Risk for DiabetesDrink up: A 2011 Harvard studyof about 38,000 middle-aged men found that when those who only drank occasionally raised their alcohol intake to one to two beers or other drinks daily, their risk of developing type 2 diabetes dropped by 25 percent. The researchers found no benefit to quaffing more than two drinks. The researchers found that alcohol increases insulin sensitivity, thus helping protect against diabetes.
9. Lower Blood PressureWine is fine for your heart, but beer may be even better: A Harvard study of 70,000 women ages 25 to 40 found that moderate beer drinkers were less likely to develop high blood pressure—a major risk factor for heart attack—than women who sipped wine or spirits.
10. Longer LifeIn a 2005 reviewof 50 studies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that moderate drinkers live longer. The USDA also estimatesthat moderate drinking prevents about 26,000 deaths a year, due to lower rates of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
These benefits appear to apply in other countries as well, with an earlier studyreporting that, “if European beer drinkers stopped imbibing, there would be a decrease in life expectancy of two years—and much unhappiness.”
Follow this plan to be happy and live longer