I can already see some of you scratching your head and giving me that quizzical "I actually need a reason to drink beer?" look.
I need no more reason than the fact that so much of it tastes wonderful. The list of brews.
But what if you're not that into beer right now? What if you're actually more of a wine drinker, or a big fan of whisky and other spirits? What if you've never even tried it and can't think of a reason to start now?
Well, I'd hate to see one of the true loves of my life pass anyone by without a fair shake. So here is a list of 10 great reasons to drink beer. Of course, as with anything, please drink in moderation. And it goes without saying — no driving, please.
1. Beer Hydrates You Better Than…Water
You read that right. It's not some junk fact thrown out there by the breweries of the world. Researchers at Spain's Granada University spent months carefully testing 25 students. They asked them to run on a treadmill in high temperatures, until they were almost exhausted. Half the subjects were given water, the other half were given Spanish lager. And the results… the beer drinkers had "slightly better" rehydration effects.
In fact, the test results indicated that male athletes should drink 500ml of beer per day, and 250ml for women. So next time you're doing some back-breaking work in the blazing sun, don't feel bad reaching for a cold one. You have science on your side. (See also: Frugal Drinks to Keep You Cool)
2. Beer Has Vitamins
Specifically, your average foaming pint of ale boosts B6, B12, folate, and mineral levels. And when compared to other alcoholic drinks, including wine and spirits, beer is the only one to contain a significant amount of vitamins. Other added treats include niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, flavonoids (also known as antioxidants) and choline. All in all, quite the cocktail of goodness… in moderation.
3. Beer Is a Terrific Natural Sleep Aid
Anyone who's stuck around at a party long enough can attest to this one. There are people passed out everywhere. But you don't need to drink a lot to get the sleepy effects of beer. Beer contains two sleep-promoting B vitamins, and hops itself is a natural sedative. In other words, forget the warm milk, and knock back a cold beer if you're having trouble dozing off. (See also: Foods That Can Help You Sleep)
4. Beer Keeps Those Creative Juices Flowing
As someone in the creative advertising industry, I can personally vouch for the efficacy of this one. Many times over the years I was given a creative brief and hit a brick wall. This is not uncommon; most creative people do. After the usual long walks, games of darts, and anything else designed to take your mind off the problem for a while, the one failsafe way to get over the hump was… beer. Not a lot, just a couple of pints with a friend down the local pub. It's amazing the doors it can open up for you, just by loosening up your thinking. (See also: Ways to Boost Creativity)
There is also hard evidence to support this, too. Those "eureka" moments that artists, designers, and other thinkers have come when the brain is relaxed. In fact, about five seconds before that moment scientists found a large increase in alpha waves — the waves associated with relaxation. When this happens, it allows the front brain thinking to move to the back of the brain, where those unique, subconscious, lateral connections can be made. And voila… big idea. It's also why we get ideas in the shower or as we're falling asleep.
Think of beer as a kick-starter to your body's relaxation mode. One bottle may be all that stands between you and a genius idea.
5. Beer Reduces Your Risk of Heart Attacks
Greek researchers recently found that arteries become more flexible, and blood flow actually improved, within just a few hours of drinking beer. The same could not be said of alcohol-free beer.
The study of 17 non-smoking men in their twenties and thirties showed cardiovascular improvements within two hours of drinking 400ml of beer. And although vodka produced similar results, alcoholic beer was the winner.
Just one more reason to raise a glass and say "to your good health."
6. Beer Is a Great Hair Conditioner
OK, so you're not actually drinking it… but your hair is soaking it up! I can't vouch for this one personally; I've been shaving my head for 15 years. But several tests have been done using the amber nectar, and it's just as good for your hair as it is for your creative thinking. Why? Well, the malt in the beer nourishes the hair and makes it extra soft and smooth. Follow your usual hair care routine, but use room-temperature beer before your usual conditioner. The hair won't smell of beer, but it will be as soft as a baby's bottom. (See also: 5 Homemade Hair Conditioners)
7. Beer Can Strengthen Your Bones
Along with all the other health benefits of beer, this one should be of interest to anyone suffering from osteoporosis. It seems that beers that contain high levels of malted barley and hops are rich in silicon. This ingredient can help strengthen bones and fight osteoporosis, which is a skeletal disease that creates low bone mass and bone tissue deterioration. Ask at your local liquor store for beers that are high in malted barley and hops.
8. Beer Prevents Kidney Stones
In this case, the darker the beers, the better. You're looking for stouts, porters, and any beer with lots of hops. These hop-rich beers help prevent calcium deposits from being formed in your kidneys. And when calcium deposits mix with salt and other minerals, you get those dreaded kidney stones.
9. Beer Is Full of Fiber
Did you know that the average liter of beer contains 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber? And that's just an average beer. Get a really good, rich craft beer, and you're looking at up to 60% of your daily fiber intake from one liter of beer. This, in turn, aids bowel function, keeping you regular. And it also slows down the digestion and absorption of food, which can reduce cholesterol levels. So, next time you're ordering a beer, think of all that lovely fiber you're getting into the bargain.
10. Beer Is a Great Social Lubricant
If you're not exactly the life of the party, a beer can help you lose some of those inhibitions without going overboard. Beer helps to relax several parts of the brain (remember the ones responsible for creative thinking) and loosens you up. You only need one or two to become a lot more free and easy without becoming a complete party animal (which can happen when you start chugging vodka and other spirits). Also, beer has less alcohol per milliliter than wine and spirits, so you can nurse your drink a little longer and won't feel the effects as intensely. Good for the wallet, and the morning after.