So what is this miracle cure-all superfood? Why it's BEER, of course! It's true--drinking beer (and also other alcoholic beverages) is one of single healthiest thing you can do. And in most cases you may be increasing your risk of dying by abstaining from alcohol. Yes, you read that right. You'll probably die sooner if you don't drink.
|Alcohol is a drug. Heroin is a drug. They are the same. Apparently|
Teetotalers Die First
Over the last 10-15 years, the evidence has mounted into a veritable mountain showing that alcoholic drinks, and beer in particular, have amazing health benefits. You probably think I'm going to feed you a bunch of homeopathic bullshit articles that most people use to justify their "superfoods."
I've got one better for you though. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is our government's number one anti-alcohol agency. It's difficult to find anything positive about alcohol on their website if you do a cursory search. However, I found this gem of a website buried on their site that details all of the health benefits of moderate drinking. And it's a very long list (which I summarize below).
If you want to sum it all up in one sentence, take this quote from the NIAAA site: "A meta-analysis on all cause-mortality using approximately 50 studies demonstrated an inverse association between light to moderate drinking and total mortality under all scenarios." Here's that in plain English: basically every quality medical study conducted has shown that if you drink alcohol you will most likely outlive someone who doesn't drink. It can't be much simpler than that.
The health benefits of alcohol are nearly always followed up with "in moderation only." But saying "in moderation only" ignores the fact that in a study of almost 2000 adults over 20 years showed that non-drinkers had a higher mortality rate than heavy drinkers. It has been scientifically shown that it is more dangerous to be a teetotaler than an alcoholic. But, as you might have guessed, moderate drinkers outlived both groups by a wide margin.
The Ridiculously Amazing Health Benefits of Beer
|This is what your new health regimen|
looks like. Winning!
Unless otherwise noted, the source for all of these health benefits can be found in the NIAAA page cited earlier. Also, unless otherwise noted, these health benefits count for both women and men. So here we go...
Heart Attacks - Moderate alcohol consumption (3-4 drinks/day) reduces your chance of having a heart attack by up to 50% over non-drinkers.
Stroke - Moderate alcohol consumption (2-4 drinks/day) reduces the risk of stroke in middle-aged & elderly populations.
Cholesterol - Increasing alcohol consumption (up to 4 drinks/day) has been shown to increase HDL cholesterol (the good kind of cholesterol) by up to 18% (source).
Hypertension - There is no conclusive evidence whether moderate alcohol intake increases, decreases, or does not affect blood pressure in general. There is some evidence that caucasian women may have lowered blood pressure with moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day). However, there is some evidence that individuals with pre-existing high blood pressure may benefit from lowered alcohol consumption (source).
The "Beer Belly"
Obesity - There is no clinical evidence that moderate alcohol consumption leads to weight gain (up to 2 drinks/day). Adding 2 drinks a day to your diet will not give you a beer belly.
Diabetes - Moderate alcohol consumption (2 drinks/day) leads to a 60% reduction in the risk of developing diabetes.
Alzheimer's Disease - Moderate drinking (1-3 drinks/day) was found to have no increased risk of Alzheimer's in some studies and a decrease in risk of developing Alzheimers in other studies.
Studies also found that compounds in hops may protect brain cells from developing Alzheimer Parkinson diseases (source)
Dementia - Studies found that moderate alcohol consumption (1-3 drinks/day) may reduce risk for vascular dementia.
Cognitive Function in Aging - Moderate alcohol intake (1-4 drinks/day) was found to be associated with improved cognitive performance.
Indeed, there is actually evidence that hops in beer may protective of your liver (source).
All Cancer - Moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks/day) significantly reduces the risk of dying of any type of cancer compared to abstainers.
Breast Cancer - The effect of alcohol on the risk for breast cancer remains inconclusive in general. However, among women with a family history of breast cancer, studies indicate that increasing alcohol consumption can lead to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Colorectal Cancer - No increase in colorectal cancers have been identified with moderate alcohol consumption (up to 2 drinks/day)
Oral/Upper Digestive Tract Cancers - A slight increase in risks of cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus has been detected with heavy drinking, but no studies have been done on the effect of moderate drinking .
Bones & Joints
Rheumatoid Arthritis - moderate alcohol consumption (1 drink/day) lowered the risk of developing RA in women by 22%-31% (source)
Bone Density - Older women who drank moderately (1-2 drinks/day) had better bone regeneration than non drinkers (source).
Furthermore, beer (and not wine or liquor) is one of the only foods that you can get a significant amount of dietary silicon from--which is even more important for increasing bone density and preventing osteoporosis than calcium (source).
Vitamins & Minerals
In addition to all of these proven health benefits, beer is filled with vitamins and minerals. This is especially true for craft beer, and in particular unpasteurized, unfiltered beer with yeast still in suspension (homebrew!). This isn't the case with liquor, and is only partly true for wine. Here's a list of essentially vitamins and minerals from A to Z that unfiltered/unpasteurized beer typically contains:
So feel guilty no more, and don't suffer those people who wish to convince you that drinking is unhealthy. Instead, ignore them and smile while you're thinking, "I'm going to out-last you!"