Americans love their beer. Rare is the backyard barbeque or baseball game in which someone isn't enjoying a cold one. Despite its popularity, beer is believed to be unhealthy. True, when consumed in excess, it can cause health problems and its calorie and carbohydrate-dense brew can add pounds. But it's rich in nutrients and may have surprisingly positive effects on your health. Cheers!

1. Build bone density. According to a study conducted by Cambridge University in England, beer may be a secret weapon in avoiding osteoporosis in women. The study reports that the large amounts of dietary silicon as absorbable orthosilicic acid, which promotes bone growth.

2. Protect your heart. Italian researchers found a 31 percent decrease in heart disease in those who drank about a pint of beer a day. A beer or two a day may help raise levels of HDL cholesterol to help keep arteries clear.

3. Drop your diabetes risk. When men who only drank beer occasionally raised their beer consumption to 1 or 2 a day, they lowered their risk of diabetes by 25 percent, according to a 2011 study by Harvard researchers. The alcohol in beer may increase insulin sensitivity.

4. Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. High levels of homocysteine in the blood is a marker for heart disease. A Dutch study found that drinking red wine and spirits increases serum homocysteine, while drinking beer seems to prevent the rise. Beer is also high in folate and vitamin B6, which helps break down homocysteine in the blood. 

5. Tenderize meat, and reduce cancer risk. When grilling or pan-frying a steak, try marinating the meat with a dark ale or stout. Not only will it help break down the muscle in the cut, it will also eliminate almost 70 percent of carcinogens produced when the meat is cooked.

6. Soothe tired feet. According to a recent issue of Health, the yeast in beer can soften tired, calloused feet. Simply pour a "bottle of lager into a tub of warm water, and soak 10 minutes."

Rafael Pajaro, MD, reviewed this article.



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Martijn S van der Gaag, Johan B Ubbink, Pekka Sillanaukee, Seppo Nikkari, Henk F J HendriksEffect of consumption of red wine, spirits, and beer on serum homocysteine. Web 2000.

Lisa Collier Cool. 10 Surprising Health Benefits of Beer. Web 2012.