Drink, Be Merry And Healthy: 5 Health Benefits Of Craft Beer

In the United States, there are now more than 2,500 breweries producing a diverse range of products. The United States now has the most operating breweries since Prohibition, and the numbers continue to rise. Despite the social nature of beer drinking, some people still believe that this popular drink is entirely unhealthy, but the facts may surprise you. Learn more about five of the health benefits that your next glass of beer could offer.

Fights cancer

Antioxidants are essential food compounds that help your body neutralize chemicals called free radicals. Scientists believe that free radicals can cause serious medical problems, including heart disease, liver disease and cancer. Foods and drinks that are high in antioxidants can help the body prevent these conditions.

Research published in the Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry shows that the hops used in beer contain prenylated flavonoids, which are a better source of antioxidants than red wine or green tea. One flavonoid (xanthohumol) is six times more effective than the antioxidants you can find in citrus fruits. 

Lowers the risk of kidney stones

A study in Finland found that men who drank beer on a daily basis were 40% less likely to develop painful kidney stones. Kidney stones can travel into the ureters, where they can block the flow of urine and cause extreme pain. Researchers have not concluded why beer can prevent the problem, although the water and alcohol content dilutes urine, which may help prevent the stones forming. Compounds in beer also stop the bones releasing calcium, which may slow down stone formation.

Strengthens bones

You'll find many vitamins and minerals in craft beer, but the volumes of calcium and silicon in these drinks are particularly high. The calcium in craft beer generally comes from chalk or gypsum, which the makers add during the brewing process. Calcium and silicon help build strong bones, teeth, hair and nails. If you want craft beers with the highest possible calcium content, look for a brew that uses a lot of barley and hops, such as pale ale. A half pint of craft beer could contain one-third of the suggested daily intake of soluble silica. 

Improves heart health

A study conducted by Italian researchers found that moderate consumption of beer decreases the risk of heart disease by 31 percent. The study involved 200,000 participants, and compared the health risks of non-drinkers against those of people who consumed a moderate amount of beer daily.

Researchers had believed that only wine consumption could prevent heart disease, but they now believe that wine and beer have similar benefits. Interestingly, the study concluded that people experienced no cardiovascular health benefits from drinking spirits. The study recommended beer with a 5 percent alcohol level.

Strengthens the immune system

Iron is an essential mineral that carries out several important roles in the body. Iron metabolizes proteins, produces healthy red blood cells, fights fatigue and strengthens the immune system. Cereals and leafy green vegetables are high in iron, and some dark craft beers also contain higher quantities of this life-saving mineral.

The Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture found that craft beer is higher in polyphenols than other alcoholic drinks. These polyphenols come from hops, and can also help the body kill viruses and fight infection.

Beer drinking is an extremely popular pastime in the United States, but many people worry that every drink they consume is dangerous for their health. Scientific studies are continuing to show that sensible, moderate consumption of beer can have a range of life-boosting health benefits. Craft beers rank particularly well with researchers, so next time you feel like a drink with your friends, seek out and enjoy a high-quality craft brew.