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Health Benefits of Beer

It’s common knowledge that red wine boasts heart-health benefits with its ample supply of the antioxidant, resveratrol. But beer is competing with vino lovers for its health benefits.

As you head into the fridge and twist off the cap of your favorite brew, read on to find out what you need to look for in a beer to enjoy all of the health benefits of the country’s most popular alcoholic beverage.

Heart benefits

Beer contains the same heart-protective benefits as red wine. In fact, a very large study done by Kaiser Permanente survey showed that male beer drinkers had a lower risk of coronary artery disease than men who drank red wine, white wine or spirits. The heart-healthy benefits may come from beer’s stock of B-vitamins and folates. Both of these nutrients keep homocysteine blood levels in check. High levels of the chemical have been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

In addition, the massive Nurses Health study showed that women who drank one beer a day had less risk for hypertension or high blood pressure than women who drank wine or hard alcohol.

Bone density

Beer contains silica, a mineral that helps strengthen bones by enhancing the absorption of calcium and minerals. According to a study at Tufts University, people with diets high in silica had higher bone densities and a reduced risk for osteoporosis.

But not all beers contain ample amounts of silica. Your best bet is choosing darker beers like pale ales. Also, since excessive drinking actually makes bones more brittle, you want to limit to just moderate drinking. The American Heart Association defines moderate drinking as 12 ounces of beer once daily for women.

The AHA does not encourage anyone to start drinking as a way to benefit their health. And women with a genetic predisposition to breast cancer should consult their doctor about drinking alcohol.

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August 25th, 2010

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