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By Courtenay R. Hall

Reasons why drinking beer can be healthy

Like most people around this awesome world we live on, I enjoy sitting down to a cold beer once in a while. I admit that I have not always enjoyed the taste of beer, but something in my taste buds switched after I had children. Now, I love the taste of barley and hops. We all know beer has some great flavor, and there is probably some flavor out there for almost everyone. But, is beer healthy for you, too?

Actually, beer has quite a few health benefits. Just remember to drink responsibly. Excess is not always better. But drinking beer in moderation can lead to many health benefits. One being decreased chances for heart disease. One study has shown that drinking moderately showed an increase in good cholesterol and a decrease in bad cholesterol.

A study by The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that drinking alcohol in moderation can lead to a 50 percent less chance of a stroke. To me, that is a huge statement. Just having two drinks per day could possibly decrease your chances by that much.

A recent study has shown that a chemical compound in the hops that is used to make beer can help protect your brain from diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Though it can help protect you from degenerative diseases, you are on your own trying to remember what happened at that bachelor party last night.

It can also protect your bones and keep your kidneys from getting kidney stones. That is a huge plus. I had a kidney stone once. It wasn't even big and I wanted to die – it hurt worse than giving birth. Again with the hops, this is the flowers used to flavor beer. These magical flowers can help slow down the release to calcium from bones which in turn kidneys can absorb and release as stones.

Beer also has a lot of vitamins in it. Vitamin B6 is one of the bigger ones found in beer. It is a water soluble vitamin that helps with a lot of functions of the body. Metabolism, immune function and hemoglobin formation are a few. Do you drink green tea for the wonderful antioxidants that it has? I know I do. Research shows that a lager can contain more antioxidants than green tea.

Don't worry ladies – beer can be beneficial to your health as well. Let's face it, ladies – as we get older, there are a ton of things we need to be concerned about. Bone density is one of these concerns. Beer is great for your bones. Drinking a glass regularly helps lower our risk for osteoporosis. The hops are also flavonoid-rich, which acts as a natural hormone and can help reduce menopause symptoms. Knowing that I could curb mood swings is enough for me to down a glass of beer a day.

Like anything else, drinking beer should be done in moderation. The norm is two average sized glasses per day for men and one for women. Remember these findings are just a percent of people. Not everyone is to fall into these percentages, though it is fun trying. Cheers!

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