Take a quick walk with us down memory lane. It’s 4th of July evening, you’ve successfully fended off the family for a choice position on the couch for the Big Game, and directly across the living room from you is Uncle Dave. He throws back a can of Coors even as he reaches indiscriminately for another, his massive gut flopping and heaving with the effort. As the second can begins its suicidal flight down his gullet, you can’t help but stare and think to yourself “There’s no way that can be healthy.” And you’re absolutely right. It’s not healthy. Because Uncle Dave is not the smartest person you know.
The good news is that the beer itself isn’t to blame, it’s Uncle Dave’s lack of moderation. Too much of any one thing is always going to be bad for you, but in wise amounts, beer can have some surprisingly positive benefits.
Start with the effect beer has on your insides—your guts, as it were. The heart is generally regarded as an important part of you living to fight another day, and an appropriate amount of beer helps your heart do just that. You’ve probably heard that wine is good for your heart, but beer has also been found to have the same effect—to the tune of lowering the risk of heart disease by up to 42% in some cases. And speaking of guts, the whole “beer belly” concept is a myth—anything caloric can cause you to pop a gut, beer just gets blamed because it’s easy to lose count of calories when you’re drinking them.
Beer also does good things for your kidneys. If you’re one of the fortunate humans to have “rung the bell” and passed a kidney stone, you are aware that the feeling of pushing hardened chunks of spiky calcium through your ureter is not the most pleasant experience in the world. Each time you down a bottle of beer, your risk of kidney stones goes down as well, thanks to the beer forcing your kidneys to get off the couch and be productive. Plus, some scientists believe that the hops in beer play a part as well, by keeping the calcium in your bones and out of your urethra. As a bonus, this calcium trick also helps strengthen your bones against fractures. You aren’t drinking a bottle of liquid adamantium by any stretch, but hey, every little bit counts.
Your brain also takes home a few party favors from each bottle. This doesn’t mean that your brain won’t talk you into doing stupid things after downing a case of light beer—drink too much, and you will still have those moments where you strongly believe that you can make the jump from your house to the pool, and your eyes will still tell you that the meth-smoking octogenarian at the end of the bar does have a few redeeming qualities. So again, drink in moderation, because that 80-year old honeypot packs a butterfly knife. But aside from the problems that plague an over indulger, the casual beer drinker will find that their memory improves, eyesight improves, their creativity boosts, and even their self-confidence climbs a rung or two. Not only that, but researchers have found that beer helps in the prevention of Alzheimer’s (thanks to its silicon content), a discovery we feel merits a toast or two.
Beer, when used correctly, can be a magical liquid. It pairs well with food while lowering your chances for type-2 diabetes. It lightens the mood of your night out while preventing gallstones. It lowers mental stress and as a natural laxative, it lowers colonic stress—and if there’s one type of stress that’ll hold you back in life, it’s colonic.
So the next time you find yourself sitting across from Uncle Dave, watching him scratch himself with the remote control while picking bread crumbs out of his exposed chest hair, remind yourself that beer had nothing to do with creating that monstrosity. Turn your eyes back to the football game, take a long, well-earned sip of that beer in your hand, and rest comfortably in the knowledge that you’ve probably just helped yourself outlive your uncle by at least another decade.
Drink up, friends. Doctor’s orders.