Beer is one of the most consumed beverage in the world. Though some of us get red after a few sips, we found out that beer has heart healthy benefits just like their wine counterpart. Plus, it’s healthier than other types of hard liquor like vodka. So next time if you need a drink but you’re not sure on what to go for, pick beer.
In case you are wondering, we have listed most of the beers that you could find in Malaysia over here along with its calorie count. Remember, the higher the alcohol percentage, the more calories you will be consuming. If you are keeping track of your drinking habits then this would help you pick your beer better and wiser.
So how does beer help with our heart health? Research has shown that moderate beer drinkers’ (About a pint a day) has reduced their risk of heart diseases by 31% due to the alcohol.
Go Dark Instead of Light
The darker the beer, the better it will be for your heart . So go for stouts and ales. Ales usually have the highest amount of phenol or polyphenol, natural antioxidants usually found in beer, wine and brightly-coloured fruits. Which provides nutrients that can protect your heart . Most dark beers have a lower alcoholic content so it will be nicer to your waistline too.
But dark beers or alcohols in general have a higher cogeners (a toxic chemical that is created during fermentation) level which could give you a bad hangover the next day . Hence, it is important to pace yourself and drink only 1-2 pints a day to avoid that. Or switch to a lighter brew if you are prone to hangovers.
Where does the phenol come from?
The key ingredients of making beer are water, yeast, malt and hop . The phenol in beer mostly comes from the malt and hop.
Malt usually comes from barley wheat which a rich source of soluble fiber that helps lower LDL blood cholesterol in our body . LDLs are the “bad” cholesterol that makes up most of our body and one of the causes of heart diseases. Phenols in malt are extracted by drying them with peat-fire which is what give some beers a distinct flavour . Some beers will have a fruity or a medicinal smell depending on the phenols.
Hops (Humulus lupulus L.) make up about 30% of phenol content while malt provides 70%-80% of it in beer . Hop is added during the boiling process in beer brewing. Beer such as ales contain more hop than other beers so more flavonoids is extracted . Flavonoids is what gives the beer its dark colour and its antioxidant properties . In turn, having beer with your meals can help lower the free radicals in your body when it is metabolizing food .
Beer increases HDL aka “good cholesterol”
People who drink beer moderately will have a better protection against cardiovascular diseases because of the alcohol from the beer . The alcohol boosts HDL aka “good cholesterol” levels of your body . It’s one way to increase your HDL level but take note that only a certain amount of alcohol can raise it . However, drinking more beer will increase your triglyceride levels which elevates your risk of getting heart diseases so always control your beer intake.
Improves blood flow
Beer affects the endothelial function, how blood passes through major arteries of our heart. After drinking beer, the blood flow to our heart was better because the nutrients helped to make our aortas less stiff . Researchers found that the synergistic effect between alcohol and antioxidants in beer is what makes it good for our heart .
More water content
It’s not only cheaper for our wallets. It also contains more water content compared to wine. Somehow, it can help you feel bloated faster which might help you control your intake. The high water content makes it easier for your kidneys to digest and flush out the alcohol too .
But that’s not to say, everyone should start binging on beer. Some doctors are still unsure if the healthy effects are from the beer or good lifestyle choices that light drinkers make. So if you are not a drinker, then don’t start . For the seasoned drinkers, you still need to control your daily beer intake at 1 pint for women and 2 pints for men.
If you have high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and irregular heart rhythm, do speak to your doctor before you start chugging down those beers. Pregnant women, people with obesity and have a background in alcoholism should not drink at all . Do not take medications with beer because certain medications do not mix well with beer. Which can cause harm to your body in many ways. Our advice?
Drink moderately and put more of your focus on living a healthy, active lifestyle. That’s a better way to a healthier heart.