1. Get your fibre
One litre of beer can contain up to 6g of soluble fibre, which is a third of the recommended daily intake. Soluble fibre helps maintain healthy bowel function, while removing excess cholesterol and sugar from the digestive system. A 230ml can of beer contains about 5.7g of carbohydrates. Of those, just 2.5g is residual sugar, and the rest dietary fibre. In comparison, a standard (175 ml) glass of wine contains 5.9g of carbohydrate but 5.6g of that will be free sugars, and wine has no dietary fibre.
2. Heart health
Beer can actually lower your heart disease risk. It can increase levels of good cholesterol, HDL, and prevent clotting (it can lower clotting factors like fibrinogen). Just be careful though – people with high triglycerides or hypertension must still exercise caution when drinking alcohol because it can exacerbate these two risk factors for coronary artery disease.
3. Building strong bones
Beer is high in the mineral silicon, which can act as a powerful bone strengthener. In fact, beer is one of only a few natural source of silica for post-menopausal women. According to a 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, moderate beer drinkers had a higher bone mineral density when compared to people who drank more or fewer beers. Pale Ale tends to have the highest silica content of all the beer types. However, don’t use beer as your anti-osteoporosis plan, as sufficient amounts of calcium, lots of vegetables and weight bearing exercises are a better way to achieve healthy bone density.
4. Reduce your cancer risk
Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are carcinogenic compounds produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures. Marinating meat or chicken in beer or wine can reduce the formation of carcinogenic HCAs by up to 88%; according to a 2009 study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, beer is the more effective HCA-reducing marinade. But, as high alcohol intake has been linked to certain cancers, like those of the mouth and digestive system as well as breast cancers, always consume it in moderation.
5. Sugar levels
Contrary to what you might think, alcohol actually lowers blood sugar. A large 2011 Harvard study of about 38 000 middle-aged men found that when those who drank moderately (around two drinks per day), dropped their diabetes risk by 25%. Beer, however, has a glycaemic index of 100, which means it can cause spikes and then drops in blood sugar levels. In moderation, however, the effect is not severe because beer has a moderate glycaemic load of 6, due to its relatively low carbohydrate content.
6. Brain power
In high amounts, alcohol can cause brain damage, but in moderation it can actually sharpen the mind and even prevent dementia. Moderate drinkers (those who consumed about one drink a day) lowered their risk of mental decline by as much as 20 percent, compared to non-drinkers
7. Beer belly
The term “beer belly” is somewhat of a myth. The real reason for increased weight gain is too many calories relative to the amount of energy burned off. While beer may contribute to this calorie intake, it is only a small part of the equation. Beer drinking is often accompanied by heavy eating, which may cause issues with weight gain. A beer contains around 630 kilojoules and 12g of carbohydrates, which is less than in a slice of bread. Moderate consumption in conjunction with a healthy diet should not therefore lead to weight gain, provided calorie and carbohydrates are controlled in the daily diet.
8. Proteins and nutrients
From a nutritional standpoint, beer contains more protein and B vitamins than wine. According to a 2001 antioxidant food review in Nutrition Reviews, beer contains about twice the amount of antioxidants as white wine but only half of that of red wine. The specific antioxidants in beer are different because the barley and hops used in the production of beer contain flavonoids that are different from those in the grapes used in the production of wine.