Beer is one of the oldest human made beverages, dating back to at least the 5th millennium BC and recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia — the land between the Tigris and Euphrates, part of what is now known as Iraq.
Although a recent report released by the Beer Institute indicates beer consumption in the United States decreased for a third-straight year, many people may drink more beer during the upcoming holidays.
As Care2′s Ashley Lauren Samsa points out, drinking beer in moderation has many surprising health benefits.
6 Astounding Health Benefits of Drinking Beer
1) Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
All alcohol, whether it is beer, wine, or liquor, is known to help reduce heart disease. According to a 2008 article in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, moderate consumption of alcohol makes blood less sticky, and so it is less likely to clot.
Alcohol can also increase good cholesterol and lower the bad, as well as lower your blood pressure. A Harvard study of 70,000 women found that those who consumed beer had a lower blood pressure than those who consumed wine or hard alcohol.
2) Helps the Kidneys
Alcohol gets a bad wrap for being hard on your kidneys, but beer can actually help in that department. According to the 2011 ADA Times, beer can actually reduce your risk of kidney stones. The hops not only help slow the release of calcium from the bones — too much calcium can cause kidney stones — but beer also has a high water content, which helps clear out those kidneys.
3) Packed with Nutrition
Beer is a surprising source of many nutrients. One 12-ounce beer has around one gram of fiber. It is also packed with B vitamins like niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, riboflavin, and vitamins B6 and B12. It is also rich in silicon, a nutrient that is said to help strengthen bones.
4) Reduces Risk of Diabetes
In 2011, Harvard did a study of 38,000 middle-aged men which showed that, when they upped their intake of beer to two a day, they dropped their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 25 percent. There was, however, no noted benefit from drinking more than two beers a day.
5) Reduces Risk of Cancer
Just putting your meat in a marinade of beer can eliminate almost 70 percent of carcinogens from the meat, a Portuguese study found. That might not transfer to drinking the beer, but who doesn’t love a good beer marinade? If you do just drink it, though, it does contain loads of helpful antioxidants that can keep you healthy.
6) Increases Brain Health
Researchers think that a few beers a day can also stave off Alzheimer’s and can reduce your risk of stroke. In 2005, a study was done of 11,000 older women, and those who had one beer a day had better mental function than those who didn’t.
In fact, they decreased their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent. The Harvard School of Public Health also did a study that showed that a few beers a day might reduce the risk of stroke by thinning the blood and preventing blood clots from traveling to the brain.