5 health benefits of beer, according to Atlanta’s Piedmont Healthcare

From strengthening bones to reducing bad cholesterol, beer is healthier than you may think

5 Facts About IPA Beer.IPA beers are an acquired taste for many. For those who love the bold, hoppy brew, here are some interesting facts.1. The first known mention of IPA was in The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser in 1829. The ad mentioned "East India pale ale.".2. The higher hop content was originally meant to preserve the beer along its travel from England to India in the 1800s. That way, the beer would still taste good upon arrival.3. No one is sure who the first brewer of IPA was, but one of the first known breweries to export the beer to India was Bow Brewery in England.4. A double IPA, also known as Imperial IPA is hoppier and higher in alcohol than a standard IPA. Vinnie Cilurzo, owner of Russian River Brewery, came up with the term.5. Hops and Cannabis are technically related. Both plants belong to the taxonomic family.Now you can impress your friends at the next happy hour!

There are well-known health benefits to red wine, but according to Atlanta-based Piedmont Healthcare, beer might be better.

Surveying studies from across the health care industry, including the “Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry” and “American Heart Association: Circulation,” Piedmont Healthcare has pulled together a list of the top health benefits to drinking beer.

From lowering bad cholesterol to preventing kidney stones, here are the top five health benefits to drinking beer.

Beer is the most nutritious alcoholic drink

Wine is chock full of antioxidants, but it’s not the only alcoholic drink filled with nutritious goodness.

“We hear a lot about the abundance of antioxidants in wine, but beer has just as many,” Piedmont Healthcare reported. “The specific antioxidants are different because the flavonoids in barley and hops are different from those in grapes, but antioxidants are a good thing. Beer is also higher than wine in protein and vitamin B. Even better, beer contains iron, calcium, phosphates and even fiber.”

Beer reduces bad cholesterol

Soluble fiber can help reduce LDL, also known as bad cholesterol. Luckily, beer is full of it.

“The soluble fiber in beer can help reduce your LDL or “bad” cholesterol,” Piedmont Healthcare reported. “Increasing your intake of soluble fiber has numerous health benefits, including the promotion of healthy blood-sugar and blood-cholesterol levels.”

Beer can improve brain function

While alcohol abuse is associated with memory loss, moderate beer consumption is now being associated with improved brain function in a number of ways.

“In middle-aged subjects, increasing levels of alcohol consumption were associated with better function,” Piedmont Healthcare reported. “These findings do not suggest we encourage increased alcohol consumption, but moderate alcohol consumption has been proven to increase cognitive function.”

A secret ingredient of hops, xanthohumol, is a flavonoid that could help in other ways.

“It’s a flavonoid that helps slow down the degradation process of memory,” the health system said. “The chemical could help protect brain cells from oxidative damage associated with dementia.”

Beer strengthens bones

Full of silicon, beer can make your bones stronger.

“Dietary silicon in the soluble form of orthosilicic acid (OSA) may be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue and help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a bone-thinning disease,” the health system said.

The extent of the health benefits of beer on bones is still under study.

Beer can prevent kidney stones

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 11% of men and 6% of women within the U.S. experience kidney stones at least once during their lives. Luckily, one of beer’s strongest health benefits is its ability to help prevent kidney stones.

“Beers that contain large amounts of hops, such as pale ales and IPAs, are rich in kidney health-promoting phytochemicals,” Piedmont Healthcare reported.

No matter the health benefits of beer, Piedmont Healthcare said that physicians generally do not endorse alcohol consumption.

“The benefits of moderate alcohol consumption have not been generally endorsed by physicians for fear that heavy consumers may consider any message as a permissive license to drink in excess,” the health system said. “Talk to your doctor about your personal health history and individual consumption patterns.”