Celebrate our independence this Fourth of July with a healthy pint of beer. Yes, you read it right: we said “healthy” and “beer” in the same sentence.
Thomas Jefferson himself stated, “Beer, if drunk with moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit and promotes health.” So there you have it. What better way to salute one of our Founding Fathers than taking his wise words to heart?
If you’re still skeptically thinking, “I thought wine was the healthy form of alcohol,” you’re not giving brews enough credit. Moderate beer intake — one to two 12-oz. glasses per day for men and one for women — can be just as beneficial to your health. The past decade has produced substantial research on the health value of beer, and there appears to be no reason to turn down a brewski in favor of a glass of vino.
- Nutrition. Beer contains folic acid, vitamins, iron, niacin, silicon, fiber, riboflavin and antioxidants, which help keep us strong and healthy. Beer even has one up on wine when it comes to B vitamins and folates, since they originate from the hops, barley and other ingredients not present in wine.
- Bone health. Phytoestrogens, the hops used in the production of beer, help prevent bone loss, and research has shown that beer also may help rebuild bone mass in men and young women.
- Mental health. Anyone who has ever breathed a sigh of relief and contentment after taking a sip of beer at the end of a stressful day will tell you that moderate consumption can have some psychological benefits — just as having the occasional pint among friends can contribute to people’s satisfaction with their social lives.
- Cardiovascular health. In a 2006 study by the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, heart-healthy men who consumed moderate amounts of alcohol were 40% to 60% less likely to suffer from a heart attack compared with heart-healthy men who did not drink. The same researchers also found a correlation between men with high blood pressure who drink moderately and a lower risk of heart attacks.
- Blood clot prevention. Moderate drinking also may play a role in preventing blood clots, which can cause strokes.
- Diabetes. Moderate drinking may help prevent Type 2 diabetes in men and women, according to research cited by Forbes.
- Longevity. A study from the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that moderate drinkers have been found to have lower mortality rates than both heavy drinkers and abstainers. That’s right; drinking a little bit appears to increase your life span more than not drinking at all!
So when you’re sitting back and enjoying Monday night’s fireworks, make Tom proud. Grab an ale, lager or whatever you prefer, and have a drink to your country, your freedom and your health.