Cheers! 6 Surprising Reasons Beer Is Actually Good For You

Who knew?! From helping your heart to fighting cavities, a daily brewski (or two) can boost your health.

Move over, vino! Beer’s good for your ticker, too

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Wine often takes center stage during heart-health discussions. But don't shortchange beer's health benefits. A 32-year-long Scandinavian study of 1,400 middle-aged women reported that those with moderate consumption of beer (one to two drinks per day) had a reduced risk of heart attack. (Moderate intake was key, though, as participants with a high consumption also had an increased risk of death from cancer).

Beer may protect against rheumatoid arthritis

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Alcohol, including beer, has anti-inflammatory properties, which is likely why it is linked with such positive implications for heart health, as well as other diseases triggered by inflammation. A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, which included 1.9 million participants from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS), found that women who drank two to four times per week had a 31 percent decreased risk of rheumatoid arthritis compared to their fellow teetotalers.

Beer is an antimicrobial for your mouth

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Beer and hops (as well as red wine and coffee) contain antimicrobial compounds that may help fight unwelcome oral germs linked to plaque and gum disease. In an Italian study of 93 subjects, those who drank alcohol, including beer, tended to have fewer species of microbes in their mouths. While brushing and flossing are still paramount, enjoying a cold one may have a positive impact on your smile.

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Beer could protect your eyesight

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Could drinking beer set you up for better long-term ocular health? Perhaps. A 3,654-person study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology found participants with moderate alcohol consumption had a 50 percent lower incidence of cataract surgery (versus non-drinkers and heavy drinkers) over a period of five to ten years. Antioxidants in wine and beer may be responsible for these benefits; a number of studies show that cataracts and macular degeneration are more prevalent when a diet is low in antioxidants. We’ll toast to that!

Beer could reduce your risk of kidney stones

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Kidney stones are tiny, hard mineral deposits that form inside the kidneys, which may be a result of dehydration or certain food choices. If you’ve ever experienced them, you know that they can be very painful to pass. A Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology study following almost 200,000 participants found those imbibing about one beer a day had a 41 percent lower risk of forming kidney stones. Researchers believe this may be due to the diuretic properties of beer and other alcohols.

Beer may lower the odds of type 2 diabetes

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You hear phrases like "beer belly" and wonder how on earth a brewski could reduce your diabetes risk. But a meta-analysis of 15 studies found that moderate alcohol consumption, including beer, may reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 30 percent. There may be many factors at play, including the anti-inflammatory effects of alcohol, according to study authors. Other research in people without diabetes has found positive effects of moderate alcohol consumption on insulin and triglyceride levels. It’s important to emphasize that moderate consumption is key; overdoing it may actually increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

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