Benefits of beer: The humble pint's surprising health benefits

·3-min read
Group of friends drinking pints of beer to highlight the benefits
Beer's not all bad. There's scientific proof to show that the odd tipple can have benefits to your health. (Getty Images)

While the battle may rage between a cup of tea and a pint for beer for the title of the country’s national drink, it's beer that often gets a bad press in comparison to its warming rival.

Of course, drinking any alcohol to excess can be very dangerous for your health, but there is increasing evidence to suggest that, when taken in moderation, beer can actually have some remarkable health benefits too…

A drop can get the creative juices flowing

Does a little bit of beer make you more imaginative? Quite possibly.

In a study published in Consciousness and Cognition in March 2012, entitled ‘Uncorking the muse: Alcohol intoxication facilitates creative problem solving’, it was found that those men who had had a one or two beers were around 30% more likely to solve riddles and puzzles than those participants who had remained sober.

Time to get the drinks in and enter your local pub quiz then.

Two mature men sharing a beer together
Could having a pint or two help your creativity flow? Experts reckon so. (Getty Images)

It’s heart healthy

Moderate beer drinking – and by that we mean one to two pints of beer a day – has also been associated with some cardiovascular benefits.

In a 2012 study in the European Heart Journal found that micronutrients found in beer, called polyphenols, can reduce your chances of suffering with cardiovascular disease by 25%.

A similar survey puts the figure as high as 42%. The net result was that moderate beer drinkers were actually 19% less likely to die during a given time period than those who didn’t drink it.

We’ll drink to that.

Read more: The cheapest city breaks for beer fans: 10 places a pint costs less than £3

It might reduce your risk of diabetes

One 2017 Danish study, published in the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes found that those people who drank alcohol three to four times a week were actually less likely to develop diabetes than those who abstained from drinking.

What was particularly surprising was that those men who consumed one to six beers each week had a 21% lower risk of diabetes than those who banned the beer.

Beer benefits bones

As beer contains silicon it might also be beneficial for your bones. One study, featured in the International Journal of Endocrinology discovered the drinking beer can improve a man’s bone density. It’s not the only improvement that the silicon found in beer might offer.

Researchers at Loyola University in Chicago, for example, found that moderate beer drinkers were 23% less inclined to develop cognitive diseases such as Alzheimer’s than those who refrained.

It’s believed that silicon and a compound in the hops used in the production of beer, Xanthohumol, can help to protect our brains from degenerative disorders like dementia.

Read more: How different types of alcohol can affect your mood

Close up of a hands holding two cold pints of Guinness.
With less calories than both orange juice and skimmed milk, Guinness isn't actually all that fattening. But don't overdo it. (Getty Images)

Not all beers are bad for the belly

When you drink, your body will convert the booze into acetate which then turns carbohydrates and proteins into fat. It’s why you will get a beer belly if you drink too much and don’t exercise sufficiently. But a little of what you fancy might not do you that much harm in the battle against the bulge.

Take Guinness. While their long-standing slogan ‘Guinness is good for you’ is no longer used, the stout actually has fewer calories than both skimmed milk and orange juice.

We wouldn’t advise that you make it the basis for a calorie-controlled diet though.