Beer, Booze, Cholesterol, Health Benefits, Heart Health

What are the Health Benefits of Beer?

2 Comments 12 August 2011

By Dr. Manny Alvarez

As a doctor, I get a lot of questions from patients in my practice and in my email inbox. Here’s one that was sent to me recently by a viewer:

Dr. Manny, are there any health benefits to drinking beer? Which beers are the ‘healthiest’? – Brian

Well, Brian, this is what I have to say: If you’re planning a cookout this weekend like I am, don’t be afraid to knock back a cold one. Beer has several surprising health benefits.

Despite beer’s bad reputation, it actually has a number of natural antioxidants and vitamins that can help prevent heart disease and even rebuild muscle. It also has one of the highest energy contents of any food or drink. Of course, this means you need to set limits – one beer gets you going, four makes you fat.

If you’re worried about dehydration, keep in mind that beer is 93% water. Also, according to a Spanish study, beer may actually provide better hydration than water alone when you’re sweating it out under the sun.

So with all of this in mind, which kind of beer should you reach for? Calorie-wise, you may be tempted to grab a light lager, but for health benefits, a dark beer is the better choice.

Dark beers tend to have the most antioxidants, which help reverse cellular damage that occurs naturally in the body. A recent study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture has also found that dark beer has higher iron content compared to lighter beers. Remember, iron is an essential mineral that our bodies need. Iron is a part of all cells and does many jobs including carrying oxygen from our lungs throughout the rest of our bodies.

Another good choice is microbrews, which are healthier than mass-produced cans, because they have more hops. Hops contain polyphenols, which help lower cholesterol, fight cancer and kill viruses.

Just remember the golden rule: Everything in moderation. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your friends by drinking too much, and you certainly don’t want to put yourself at risk for any long-term health effects like liver problems, kidney diseases and heart disease.

About Dr. Manny
Manny Alvarez, M.D., is a dedicated medical professional and pioneer of innovative advances in medical technology. Manny is one of the most popular contributors to the FOX News Channel. He appears regularly on Fox and Friends, Fox News Live, and DaySide.

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Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. Aaron says:

    My friend has a PhD and does research for the University of Colorado. His studies have shown that young men and women in their 20s & 30s produce more than enough anti-oxidants naturally. In fact, if you fall for advertising in the grocery store and stock up on anti-oxidant rich foods your body will shut down production to compensate. In your later years when you really need them, your body will have a major anti-oxidant shortage and you will have to continue consuming anti-oxidant rich foods your whole life. Don’t fall for people who try to sell you on drinking beer and wine for the anti-oxidants. Drink it because you enjoy it, but in moderation.

    As for the vitamins this guy is claiming beer has, you have to be kidding me, fruits and vegetables have all the vitamins you require. You don’t need to drink beer to be healthy; that’s just retarded. In fact the oldest living man alive has never taken even a sip of alcohol. I’m not saying everyone should stop drinking; I enjoy drinking! But don’t listen to idiots like this who try and sell you that beer and wine is good for you. All the nutrients that you can get out of wine you can also get out of a handful of grapes. Think for yourself people!

  2. Phil says:

    A comment wiser than interview. If you really want health benefits from alcohol and drugs – they reduce the key factor contributing to many diseases – stress. They make you live in a moment, relax, put you in a batter mood. Isn’t that enough?.
    While living in monastery, Leonard Cohen was an assistant of a certain Zen master. Who, above all things, loved alcohol. Now, that makes me smile. (he also died at 95. the monk, not Cohen. clearly)


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