A lot of us like a beer during the evening or weekend to help us relax and unwind.
However, did you know that your pint could actually be good for you?
Yes, that's right, according to experts who have chatted exclusively to Daily Star, when drunk in moderation, beer can provide us many health benefits from better gut health to stronger bones and less stress.
READ MORE: Surprise city is Britain's boozer heartland with more pubs than anywhere else in UK
So, considering it's National Drink Beer Day (September 28) today, why not celebrate by enjoying a nice cold beer and checking out the top health benefits of the tipple below. Cheers!
1. Gut health
Unless you've been avoiding popular media, you'll likely know that gut health is a pretty important factor for our overall wellbeing.
Amongst the many strategies that may improve gut health, consuming fermented food or drink has perhaps received the most attention.
BANT registered nutritionist Eva Humphries told Daily Star raw beer could be a product to help gut health – but there may be some drawbacks.
"When it comes to beer, there is a balance to be had," she admits. "Alcohol may have a negative impact on gut health so if beer is your choice of fermented food then it's worth noting that more isn't merrier.
"For maximum benefit, opting for a raw or unpasteurised beer or ale would be the best option."
2. Stronger bones
Beer is a source of something called dietary silicon, which helps with bone health, according to Dr. Lawrence Cunningham from UK Care Guide.
Eva Humphries also agrees that beer may help your bones – but only in small amounts.
She told us: "A 2009 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition assessed the bone density of 1182 men and found an association with stronger bones in those who consumed one to two beers most days.
"This finding is likely to be linked to beer's silicon content since this mineral is crucial for healthy bones. Interestingly, bone density reduced if the subjects consumed liquor or had more than two drinks a day."
3. Contains anti-oxidants
Antioxidants are substances that help to protect the body against the effects of free radicals – molecules that can damage cells, and may trigger heart disease, cancer and other diseases.
Both barley and hops contain anti-oxidants and consequently beer is rich in them, according to Jane Peyton, founder of the School of Booze and accredited beer sommelier.
She tells us: "Medical research suggests that a group of anti-oxidants known as flavinoids present in hops may prevent the development of cardio-vascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and certain cancers."
4. Gives you a dose of vitamins
As well as getting vitamins from your fruit and vegetable intake, the experts say having beer in moderation could also help.
Dr Lawrence told us: "Beer contains B vitamins, which play a key role in our body’s ability to make new cells. When I worked in the hospital wards, I even, very occasionally, recommended a moderate intake of beer to patients who were deficient in these vitamins, although of course, these vitamins can be found in other foods, drinks and tablets."
Abbas Kanani, pharmacist at Chemist Click Online Pharmacy, also agreed, adding: "Beer has high levels of B-complex vitamins, particularly folic acid, which is believed to help prevent heart attacks. Beer also contains minerals such as calcium, copper, iron and magnesium.
5. Could help prevent osteoporosis
Jane Peyton tells us: "Hops (one of the main ingredients in beer) can help to prevent calcium leaching from the bones – which is a reason why in medical studies the beer drinkers were less likely to suffer from calcium oxalate kidney stones, and osteoporosis. Silicon in beer also helps to prevent the latter problem."
6. Can help improve cardiovascular health
Alcohol content in beer, when consumed in moderation, can positively affect cardiovascular health, according to Dr Lawrence.
He tells us: "Research often shows that moderate alcohol consumption can raise levels of high-density lipoprotein, often known as the 'good cholesterol', which helps protect against heart disease."
Jane also says ethanol and potassium, which are both in beer, can also help prevent heart disease.
7. Can help with the menopause
For women, drinking beer could help them during the menopause, according to Eva.
She comments: "Beer is a source of a group of compounds known as polyphenols. Phytoestrogens, a type of polyphenol found in beer may have a small oestrogenic effect which may in turn prove useful for symptoms of the menopause. As an example, several studies on hops, the main ingredient in beer, noted a reduction in hot flushes."
However, she warns: "It is worth noting that higher intakes of beer and alcohol are likely to increase menopausal symptoms."
Jane also adds: "Hops are a rich source of the micronutrient phyto-oestrogen. Consumption of phyto-oestrogen is connected with a decreased incidence of breast cancer in humans.
"Supplements containing phyto-oestrogens are used as a natural hormone replacement therapy for post-menopausal women."
8. May lower stress
As well as helping to prevent heart disease, potassium in beer can also help make you less stressed, according to Jane.
She tells us: "Healthy bodies need potassium. A deficiency can lead to strokes, low blood sugar, muscle disorders, impaired brain function, abnormal blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disorders, and stress."
So there you have it, as long as you drink beer in moderation and don't go overboard, there can be many benefits of having a pint now and again. Bottoms up!
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