Everyone seems to focus on being healthy in January, upping their gym sessions and avoiding unhealthy foods, or perhaps even meat and dairy altogether in the case of those doing ‘Veganuary’. Many people also embark upon ‘Dry January’, giving up alcohol for January in an effort to boost their overall health. But can beer ever be good for you? It seems that the answer is yes, particularly if you brew your own.
5 health benefits of beer
(Please note that these benefits are for moderate consumption only)
1. Brain health
Researchers have found that having one beer per day may help to lower the risk of dementia. This may be because beer contains silicon, which can protect the brain from the harmful effects of aluminium.
2. Kidney health
Moderate consumption of beer is known to prevent kidney stones. However, excessive consumption can lead to dehydration which can be a contributing factor to the development of kidney stones.
3. Heart health
Studies suggest that moderate beer drinking may make you less likely to suffer from a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular disease.
4. Lower cholesterol
Beer contains soluble fibre which can help to reduce your LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol.
5. Strong bones
Beer has a high silicon content which is important for the growth of bones and connective tissue. This can help to reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
So, it seems that there are many health benefits of drinking up to one beer per day. What’s more, enjoying a drink in the evening can also be a great way to unwind, reducing stress which can in the long term contribute to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. But, what’s the difference between drinking a bottle of beer in a pub or from the local off-licence, compared to brewing your own?
The home brew difference
If you’re considerate of your health, one of the main advantages of brewing your own beer is that you know exactly what’s in it. You don’t need to add any chemicals or any preservatives to allow your beer to sit on a shop shelf for up to a year. In fact, most home brewers drink the beer they make within a few weeks (if not days!), making for a much fresher taste.
As well as the additives, commercially-brewed beers also have some of the good things taken out. Yeast, for example, contains a whole host of healthy vitamins and proteins. Yet beer companies are forced to include yeast-killing additives to their beers to prevent bottles and cans from exploding during transportation. If you only have to transport your beer from your garage to your living room, you won’t have any need to remove the yeast.
Brewing your own beer enables you to ensure that only the highest quality ingredients are used. Home brewers can tailor their recipes to use a higher proportion of grains and thereby up the nutrient benefits. You could also look to add interesting ingredients such as blueberries or orange peel. This will give a unique flavour, as well as adding health benefits.
If being healthy isn’t enough of a reason to consider brewing your own beer, did you know that home-brewed beers can cause less of a hangover than commercially-brewed varieties? Now you’re listening! This is down to the levels of vitamin B, which naturally reduces the effects of hangovers. Commercial beers are filtered and pasteurised, which strips the vitamin B out of the beer. Home brewing, however, keeps all the good stuff in.
Brewing beer as a hobby can be very therapeutic. It’s easy to lose yourself in the process, similar to how you might do when cooking. Brewing beer can give you some ‘me time’ to relax and forget about the stresses of every day. That said, it can also be a great social activity, so why not invite a friend over to help you brew up the next batch and do some taste testing?
For more advice on brewing your own beer, check out HomeBrewAdvice.com