Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer. - Arnold Schwarzenegger
We all know the phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Of course, this is a ridiculous statement with almost no truth to it. Eating one piece of fruit per day isn’t going to magically ward off sickness, like some sort of powerful fruit of eternal life. An apple per day keeps the doctor away only if you throw the apple at the doctor, which we don’t recommend. Usually.
There’s another, similar statement, that is much more accurate: a 24 pack of beer per day keeps the jobs away.
Unfortunately, as delicious as beer is, we can’t recommend drinking a case of beer per day. If you do, there’s a good chance you’ll end up living in a van down by the river.
Plus, beer, like anything in excess (sweets, sweatpants, Nicolas Cage movies), isn’t good for your health. If you feast upon too much beer in a single day, your body will begin to go on strike, demanding better working conditions.
But how much beer is too much? How much is healthy? Is it a bad sign if you’re drinking beer in the shower (probably)?
Let us guide you on a beerlicious tour of your body, helping you understand how to treat your body without cheating your body.
(Note: We’re not doctors. This isn’t intended to be medical advice. Talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions.)
Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer's day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented. - Gilbert K. Chesterton
Most guidelines state that moderate beer consumption is safe for your health. For men, that’s between 2-3 beers per day and for women that’s 1-2 beers per day (sorry ladies).
We know that some of you are reading this and thinking, Perfect! I’ll drink three 60 oz beers per night!
Nice try. The 2-3 limit is based on drinking 12 oz beers. Pint glasses you can fit your head into don’t count.
Now, we should note, there is some disagreement about exactly how much is too much. As Katie Kelly Bell notes:
In the UK, their Department of Health states that men should limit consumption to no more than 3-4 units/day and women to no more than 2-3 units/day…but take note, their unit is only 8 grams, and an American unit is 14 grams. Overall though, the UK guidelines allow for a bit more flexibility. The French Ministry of Health and Sports suggests no more than 30 grams (roughly 3 drinks) per day for men and women alike.
We’d all probably really like Spanish doctors from the Basque region, where the Department of Health & Social Security counsels men and women to no more than 70 grams a day, or roughly seven drinks a day.
So here’s what we recommend. At the end of the day (or whenever you like to relax), sit down with a cold craft beer or two. Drink them slowly. Savor them. Taste the hops and malt and grains. If you’re drinking an IPA, enjoy the sweet bitterness that only that beer produces.
If you’re worried that you’re drinking too much, you have two options:
The point is this: be smart with the amount of beer you drink. It’s delicious, and in moderation it’s the nectar of the gods. Don’t drink until you’re hammered and convinced that everyone is your best friend and that world peace is achievable.
I'm gaining weight the right way: I'm drinking beer. - Johnny Damon
Some look at this question and scoff. They assume that drinking beer is healthy in the same way that eating glass is healthy. The next time you encounter someone like this, you can shove science in their face.
Beer Has Nutrients. No beer, isn’t in the same category as organic, gluten-free, cage free kale, but it certainly does have nutrients. These nutrients include trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, fluoride and silicon.
Beer also contains some antioxidants, which help your body eliminate harmful toxins.
Beer May Strengthen Your Bones. Check this out beer haters. A recent study by the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that moderate drinkers were 38% less likely to develop osteoporosis. Another study showed that moderate drinkers have a 20% lower risk of fracturing a hip.
Milk does a body good. So does beer.
Beer May Reduce the Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes. A number of studies have shown that moderate consumption of beer can actually reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes by up to 30 percent. Beer May Boost Cognitive Health. Most people associate drinking beer with people slurring sentences and being unable to answer simple questions. Nope. Some studies have indicated that light to moderate drinking later in life can actually slow cognitive decline. So instead of playing all those brain games to try and stay sharp, just drink a few pints.
Beer Can Improve Your Digestion. In 2012, a study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that showed that some beers can trigger the release of gastric acid in the stomach. Gastric acid is a key component in digestion and also helps control the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria.
Obviously, drinking too much beer isn’t good for your health. Your liver won’t be your biggest fan if you’re downing a case every night after work. But drinking beer in moderation can be very good for your health. So, to quote Homer Simpson, “Shut up liver!”
I do condition my hair with honey and beer. I smell like the bottom of a beer barrel for days afterwards, but it's very good for the hair. - Catherine Zeta-Jones
Beer affects your body in a number of ways. None of these is problematic if you drink in moderation.
Beer alters your brain’s neurotransmitters. The reason you feel a little fuzzy when you drink beer is due to the way beer interacts with your cerebellum, which helps with coordination, and cerebral cortex, which is responsible for thinking, memory, and learning.
Beer dilates your blood vessels. Why does your face turn beet red when you have a few drinks? Because alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate and more blood flows through them. That blotchy skin isn’t because you’re embarrassed, it’s because you’ve tossed back a cold one.
Beer sends you to the restroom. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it causes you to have to urinate more frequently. This is why you find yourself going like a racehorse after just a few beers.
Beer can lower your blood sugar. Alcohol inhibits your liver from converting glycogen into glucose, which then causes your blood sugar to drop. A simple way to avoid this is to eat a hearty meal beforehand.
Beer, it's the best damn drink in the world. Jack Nicholson
Beer, like every other good thing, has health risks when consumed in excess. There’s nothing particularly new or profound about that. There are health risks if you eat fast food every day or watch too much Netflix.
One of the best ways to avoid drinking excess beer is to drink good beer. Beer that was made with care. Beer that wasn’t mass produced in a giant warehouse. When you drink good beer, it’s an experience. You’re not pounding down fifteen beers in order to pass out on the couch. You’re savoring a few delicious, flavorful beers that have an amazing flavor profile.
Don’t cheat yourself by drinking terrible, cheap beer. Invest in something that will make you want to slow down and appreciate what you’re drinking.
There are few things better in life than beer. And thankfully, beer can be good for you when consumed in reasonable, moderate, not frat party amounts. It can help your digestion, be good for your heart, strengthen your bones, and help you relax.
Most importantly, beer can make you happy. We’ve all had the experience of coming home after a long, hard day and enjoying a delicious beer.
There’s simply nothing like it.