For some of us, there’s no better way to relax in the weekend and battle the heat than with a nice cold glass of beer. So, you’ll probably be pleased to hear that beer could be good for you.
A new study from Iceland has found that moderate beer consumption may fend of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers looked at autopsy data from men who were 35 to 70 years old at the time of death. Consumption of alcohol, Aβ aggregation in the brain, and apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype were assessed. Surviving relatives then answered a questionnaire about their drinking habits.
The results showed that beer consumption could protect against Aβ aggregation in the brain, one of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease. The amount of alcohol consumed was not linked with Aβ aggregation, and neither was spirit or wine consumption.
The researchers have called for more research to investigate the other factors that could be involved, but the study does add weight to the idea that beer could actually be good for you.
Japanese scientists have found that antioxidants in beer may help protect certain body tissue from cancer-causing chemicals. One in particular – xanthohumol - has even been shown to retard the growth and development of breast cancer cells. Another study from Tufts University showed a connection between beer consumption and reduced risk of developing osteoporosis. This is said to be due to the presence of a bone-building compound called silicate, which supports the uptake of calcium into bones.
Other surprising health benefits of beer include reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney stones, and helping to manage blood pressure. On top of this, beer is also considered one of the best natural treatments of dandruff.
But when you’re raising your glass to your health, remember: Drinking more doesn’t confer extra health benefits. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The health benefits will go out the window if you drink excessively as the health risks associated with over doing it will cancel out any positives.
Dr Tina Lam from the National Drug Research Institute in Australia notes that when it comes to alcohol, moderation is always key. “Stay within the drinking guidelines of no more than two standard drinks in a single sitting to reduce risk of long term harms such as cancer, heart conditions and stroke.”
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Dr Lam notes that we should not have more than four standard drinks in a single session to reduce short-term risks such as accidents and injuries. So enjoy a couple of beers this weekend, but don’t expect to wake up feeling smarter or healthier the following morning.
Text: The Australian Women’s Weekly/Bauer