When most people think of heart-healthy beverages, they think of red wine. But new evidence from the American Dietetic Association (ADA) shows that beer has a great deal of nutrition and heart benefits as well, according to an article published in ADA Times.
“Red wine enjoys a reputation for sophistication and health benefits, but as interest in artisan brewing gains momentum and emerging research reveals unique nutrition properties, beer is finding redemption not only as a classy libation with deep roots in many cultures, but as a beverage with benefits,” said registered dietitian and ADA spokesperson Andrea Giancoli in a news release.
The article comes out just in time for American Heart Month, which raises awareness of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One in three adults has some form of heart disease, and many can be prevented by healthier food choices.
Giancoli said that moderate consumption of beer has shown to increase HDL cholesterol (good), lower LDL cholesterol (bad), and reduce the risk of blood clots. It also lowers the risk of gallstones and type 2 diabetes.
“Beer specifically has been associated with additional health outcomes, including lowering the risk of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages, possibly due to its high water content and diuretic effect,” Giancoli said. “Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone that is implicated in kidney stones. Additionally, beer drinkers seem to have a more protective effect towards greater bone mineral density due to the high content of silicone in beer.”
Wine and beer are both fat-free, but only beer contains a small amount of protein in its total calories. The lower alcohol content of beer also plays a role.
“Wines are between 12 percent and 14 percent ABV. Because the average beer has a lower ABV and more than two and half times as much water, it contributes to fluid intake more so than wine,” she said.
Recent studies show that most lagers contain close to 2 grams of soluble fiber per liter, and dark beers can contain over 3 grams.
But the ADA still recommends moderation when it comes to alcohol.
“Whether you’re exploring the cultural roots of an ancient beverage, expanding your culinary prowess, supporting a local brewer or just enjoying a cold one,” Giancoli said. “Remember that moderate consumption means one 12-ounce beer per day for women and two for men.”