Good beer… good health!

bienfaitsScience is in no doubt about this: to drink beer, with the necessary moderation of course, is a good idea for keeping healthy. Like wine, beer has pretty positive effects at various levels, so… Let’s drink to our health!

>Sleep: It has been known for many years that hops have sedative properties. The lupuline they contain is thought to have a calming, antidepressant and antistress effect. Hops and beer were already used in the Middle Ages to improve mood. It was even recommended to use pillows filled with hops to fight against sleeping problems.

>The heart: The ethanol that beer, and all other alcoholic beverages, contains is thought to reduce “bad” cholesterol but not “good” cholesterol, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, when the drink is consumed regularly and in moderation (maximum three glasses a day). This effect has been confirmed by a study carried out in the Czech Republic and published in 2000 in a British medical journal. But beware: the study also showed that these protective effects were not evident in individuals who drank to excess who, on the contrary, could suffer from negative effects.

>Bones: Beer is rich in silicon, a substance that promotes the development of bone tissue and that is thought to prevent certain diseases such as osteoporosis. It also contains phytoestrogens (plant hormones), which might have the same effect. Two Californian studies published in 2009 support these hypotheses.08_Hop's_Flowers - copie 2

>The diuretic effect: Beer drinkers are well acquainted with this effect, although the reasons for this phenomenon are still a matter for debate. Some say that the hop resins stimulate kidney function and facilitate the excretion of excess water, toxins and waste from the body. Furthermore, beer is 90% water itself, which accentuates its diuretic effect. Finally, it seems that beer, like all alcoholic beverages, reduces the production of vasopressin (or ADH), which is an antidiuretic hormone that reduces the excretion of water. Which is why it doesn’t take long for people to feel the need to relieve themselves…

>Weight: Contrary to the image of the beer drinker with the spare tyre, it is thought that beer is not actually fattening. Of all alcoholic beverages, it is one of the lowest in calories. Beer also helps us to feel satiated. Unfortunately, this doesn’t prevent some beer drinkers from nibbling fatty foods (like cheese or peanuts) while having a pint. And this is where some people get their large waistlines from. If you drink while you eat, the body gets rid of the alcohol first, which delays by several hours the combustion of fatty acids and promotes the formation of fatty deposits. QED!

Whatever the case, alcohol must be consumed wisely, without excess or abuse, and taking into account the drinker’s gender, weight and tolerance. And drinking must of course never be paired with driving or with any other activity that might be affected by alcohol.