While binge drinking is not healthy, having a pint or two might not be the worst thing for you. We asked two New York City nutrition experts to list some of the benefits of moderate beer consumption, so you can truly drink to your health. Cheers!
Beer is all-natural.
Sure, drinking beer isn't quite the same as a forkful of veggies, but like organic produce, beer isn't packed with chemicals. "It is preserved by hops and alcohol," says Laura Pensiero, Just Salad's head chef and registered dietician. "The processing of beer is cooking, fermenting, filtering, packaging." That's it.
Beer is low in calories.
"A 12-ounce beer provides, on average, 150 filling calories," Pensiero says. "This can easily work into the calorie budget of an active adult."
Beer is relatively low-carb.
Beer has 12 grams of carbohydrates per 12 ounces -- which makes it a better choice than a sugary cocktail or soda, which averages 40 grams of carbs, Pensiero says.
Beer is good for high cholesterol.
"It raises HDL [high-density lipoprotein] even better than the statin drugs such as Lipitor and Navicor," says Pensiero.
Beer is high in B vitamins.
Beer packs plenty of folate, which helps prevent heart attacks and certain types of cancer, according to Pensiero. Folate also reduces the risk of depression.
Beer has antioxidants.
"Xanthohumol, a flavonoid found only in hops, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-carcinogen," says Pensiero. "Dark beer has similar antioxidants to red wine."
Beer can help strengthen bones.
Got beer? "Beer may help strengthen bones due to its high content of silicon, a compound that contributes to bone growth and may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis," says Kristy Del Coro, the senior culinary nutritionist for SPE Certified.
Beer is hydrating.
"Most beers are about 93% water," says Del Coro. "[They] can actually be very hydrating, especially compared to other alcohols."
Beer drinkers live longer.
Move over, wine. "While wine has long been credited with better aging and lower risk of chronic disease, recent studies indicate that beer has the same benefits," Pensiero says.
Drinking beer is social.
Call a few friends to share a pitcher. "The socialization and relaxation enjoyed with moderate beer drinking are good for your spirit and your health," Pensiero says.