“Beer is all natural and fresh. It’s not just a party drink anymore,” said Jason Fitzpatrick, a bartender at the Tappo Restaurant in downtown Buffalo.Until recently, the common conception of beer has been that it makes you fat and unhealthy. But recent studies have shown that, when consumed in moderation, beer potentially has many health benefits.
For instance, beer may promote good cardiovascular health. In a study conducted by Emory University in Atlanta, elderly men and women who consumed at least 1.5 drinks daily had up to 50 percent less of a risk of suffering from heart failure.
History has also revealed the benefits of alcohol consumption. France, the country with the highest per-capita alcohol consumption, also has one of the lowest rates of coronary heart disease mortality worldwide.
The ingredients of beer have proven to be full of potent antioxidants. At the annual international conference ‘Beer and Nutrition,’ hosted by the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, scientists concluded that hops contain a number of nutrients that appear to prevent a variety of diseases. These include Alzheimer’s disease, obesity , and depression.
But before you celebrate this proven health trend with a few pints, keep in mind that anything above moderation can be harmful.
Carol DeNysschen, an associate professor of nutrition at SUNY Buffalo State, warns that if drinking in excess, the risks of beer can well outweigh the benefits.
“Beer has health benefits on lowering blood pressure (potentially) with one can,” said DeNysschen, “but other than that, it has alcohol (empty calories), it is a diuretic, it can impair one's judgment in making wise food decisions and is often abused.”According to scientists and nutritionists such as DeNysschen, to see any benefits from beer the consumer must drink in moderation. This is about one to three glasses a day with a healthy meal to help absorb alcohol. This intake must also be consistent, meaning that the consumption is spread evenly throughout the week.
Also, these effects have only been studied in men and women over the ages of 30. Scientists indicate that drinking beer for any benefits is only advisable at a later age, when the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and high blood pressure increase naturally.
So yes, drinking beer under some circumstances is beneficial to your health. Is it the secret holy grail of healthy living tips? No, but as long you drink in moderation and enjoy responsibly, beer can be another method to maintain a healthy lifestyle and truly give meaning to the classic toast: “to your health.”