People do not usually associate beer-drinking with optimal health, but it turns out that enjoying a cold one might be better for us than we had once previously thought.
While excessive amounts of beer can contribute to a host of health issues, including weight gain, belly fat and heart disease, enjoying a brew or two in moderation may actually be part of a healthy lifestyle. For one thing, beer has no fat, is cholesterol free, and is low in sugar. Per serving, beer is much lighter than soda and other sugary drinks — even when compared to a nutritious glass of orange juice, beer has fewer calories and significantly fewer carbs (though none of the nutritional value, to be sure).
If you have a choice between a glass of soda and a beer, a beer is honestly the healthier option.
Beer also has most of the nutrients that healthy grains have, like B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, and zinc, not to mention potassium, calcium, and phosphorus. While it is true that there are healthier ways to get your daily nutrients, it is worth noting that you will be getting them when you drink a beer. You will also be getting some antioxidants, which can help your body fight disease.
It turns out drinking beer is healthy, in moderation, and could even reduce your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s and prevent weight gain. Though the benefits are disputed, there is nonetheless a wide array of evidence to suggest at least a correlation between moderate beer consumption and a lowered risk of certain health problems. That said, you should not use this as an excuse to drink as much beer as you want. Here are a few tips you should heed to stay healthy while enjoying beer.
Avoid Ultra-Light Beers
You may think that lighter is better, but be warned: Ultra-light beers that boast low calorie counts are not as healthy as they seem. Typically, these “diet” beers substitute out regular grains for other synthetic ingredients, which means that you will not be getting some of the nutrients a regular beer has, which means the health benefits associated to moderate consumption of beer may not extend to all light versions. They’re also not usually all that much lower calorie than regular beers (while sacrificing the taste rather significantly). So while lighter beer can be lower in calories and alcohol than the regular kinds, you may just end up compensating for it by drinking more.
Choose A Beer You Like
The key to drinking beer in a healthy way is to focus on quality over quantity. Choose a tasty beer you love, and enjoy it slowly. And again, don’t be afraid try indulge in a seemingly heartier, filling brew. A 12-ounce serving of a “heavy” stout beer like Guinness sets you back 125 calories — just 15 more than the same serving of Bud Light.
Resist The Bar Food
If you’re grabbing a beer with friends at the local pub, it’s easy to be tempted into ordering some nachos to go with your lager. Unfortunately (and you already know this), bar food is almost always fried and full of fat, so chances are you’ll gain more weight munching on bar food than you ever will drinking a few beers. Second, bar food is designed to make you thirsty. All that fried and salty food is there purely to get you to drink your beer faster and order more. If you’re mindlessly munching on chili fries, you’re likely drinking more than you would have if you were not eating. Even if there are free snacks like nuts or pretzels at the bar, try to avoid them. They’re just a trap to get you to drink more beer.
It’s always a good idea to drink lots of water to hydrated, but this especially important when you’re drinking. As a diuretic, alcohol of any kind causes dehydration. If you know you are planning to be drinking at a certain time, make sure to drink plenty of water that day. At the bar, a general rule of thumb is to order one glass of water with each beer you drink. Not only will staying hydrated make you feel better all night, it will also help you recover faster if you drink one beer or two too many.
Eat Before You Drink
If you are going out for drinks — or even if you are just enjoying a beer at home — it’s a good idea to eat a full meal before you start. For one thing, you will feel fuller, so you’ll want to drink less, as beer is quite naturally very filling on its own. Your body also tends to absorb alcohol slower when it’s digesting good, so you won’t be affected by a couple of drinks. Lastly, if you’ve already eaten a nutritious meal, you’re less likely to be tempted by unhealthy bar food or snacks.
So for all you fit lushes out there: Go ahead and enjoy a beer or two with your friends without worrying too much about what one beer will do to your diet. Be smart, drink carefully, and savour every sip for good health.