So, you’ve just fought hard and won (or lost) your weekend match. It doesn’t matter if it’s sweltering outside or bordering on freezing, slurping a coldie while you reminisce your tactics with your teammates is a great way to finish off the day. And, what’s more, it could be doing you good!

We’re not talking about chugging back a six pack to celebrate, or drowning your loss in a sea of amber, but a couple of beers can offer up a wealth of benefits and make you feel a whole lot better when you’re tired and sweaty.

Here are 12 reasons why you don’t need to feel guilty while enjoying a post-game beer.

beer benefitsIt keeps your kidneys healthy

Drink a bottle of beer each day and you could reduce your risk of kidney stones by up to 40 per cent, according to a Finnish study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. The researchers studied more than 27,000 Finnish men aged 50-69 to unearth their results. They believe the compounds in hops might be responsible for their findings as they slow the bones’ release of calcium that could get reabsorbed by the kidneys as painful stones. Another thing they discovered was that the risk of kidney stones wasn’t affected by drinking any other alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage such as milk, juices, coffee, tea and wine.

beer benefitsYou’ll fill up on fibre

A good ole ale (the darker the better), is a source of soluble fibre thanks to the cell walls of malted barley. Just over one schooner of beer (500ml) contains about 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of fibre – some beer varieties can contain up to 30 per cent! The fibre forms prebiotics in the stomach, nourishing the good bacteria found there and aiding digestion.

beer benefitsBeer abounds in vitamin B

Vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B6 (pyridoxine), B9 (folate) and B12 (cobalamin) – they’re all there and are vital for maintaining energy and building muscle tissue. A Dutch study found those who drink beer have 30 per cent higher levels of vitamin B6 than non-drinkers, and levels that are twice as high as wine drinkers. Again, the level of B vitamins varies between beer types.

beer benefitsIt can prevent heart disease

There are numerous studies showing that moderate drinking (one or two glasses a day of any type of alcohol) can decrease heart disease by around 30-35 per cent. This is probably because the soluble fibre content helps to lower bad blood cholesterol and increase good cholesterol levels, reducing the chance of the arteries hardening. Back to beer alone, though, and a Harvard study of women (aged 25-40) found that those who drank beer in moderation were also much less likely to develop high blood pressure compared to women who drank other forms of alcohol, including wine. Beer also contains polyphenols (about 28-52mg/100ml) which not only provide flavour (bitterness, astringency, harshness), colour and stability, but are powerful antioxidants that can reduce blood clots in the arteries.

beer benefitsDrinking it keeps diabetes at bay

Researchers in Holland looked at 38,000 male health professionals and discovered that when the men who weren’t big drinkers began drinking moderately over a four-year period, they were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Another study, this time in Spain, of 1249 men and women over the age of 57, revealed that those who regularly drank moderate amounts of beer were also less likely to suffer from diabetes and had less body fat.

beer benefitsBeer boosts memory

Some scientists believe that exposing the brain to moderate amounts of alcohol may increase the release of chemicals involved with cognitive functions such as information processing. A study in the Consciousness and Cognition journal had 40 men watching a movie while completing verbal puzzles. Those with a blood alcohol reading of .075 actually solved the problems a few seconds faster than their sober counterparts. Meanwhile, a US study of more than 660 people over 60 who drank alcohol in moderation had better recollection of autobiographic events such as times, places, and emotions. And another US study of older moderate drinkers revealed they may have a lower risk of dementia – people who consumed 8-14 alcoholic drinks a week were 37 per cent less likely to develop the disease over the general population.

beer benefitsIt’s good for your bones

Did you know that a couple beers each day may actually strengthen your bones? This is good news for athletes! A study at Tufts University in the US found that men who enjoyed 1-2 brews a day had up to 4.5 per cent greater bone density than non-drinkers. Aim for the darker, more hoppy ales as they have a higher amount of silicon which is responsible for bone and connective-tissue health. There is a downside, though – according to the study, drink more than two beers a day and you could end up with a 5.2 per cent lower bone density.

beer benefitsSipping it helps you sleep

If your game leaves you buzzing so much you can’t get enough shut-eye, a beer might solve the problem. It contains lactoflavin and nicotinic acid which, when combined, causes a reaction similar to melatonin, helping you achieve your much-needed zzzs.

beer benefitsBeer could fight off cancers

Chemists from the University of Idaho are currently working with the hops used to make beer in order to develop cancer-fighting medicines. Apparently, there are two compounds in hops which have been found to halt bacterial growth and disease. Beer also contains an antioxidant known as xanthohumol, which can potentially fight off enzymes linked to cancer.

beer benefitsIt’s hydrating!

Who would have thought beer could aid in exercise recovery?! Scientists in Spain monitored 40 students after exercising them in a 40C environment, then having half of them drink beer and the other half water to rehydrate. Surprisingly, those who drank the beer were slightly more hydrated. ‘It could be that the better hydration levels are also down to the sugars and salts found in beer,’ says Dr George Philliskirk, Director of the Beer Academy in the UK. ‘It is a good source of potassium – which is needed after exercise to help rehydrate.’

beer benefitsIt could keep your team alive!

On the Australian Institute of Sport website, it states that ‘Major brewing companies often sponsor sporting events within Australia and numerous high-profile sporting teams are affiliated with brewing companies via sponsorship agreements. This relationship is particularly cemented in many high-profile, male team sports that receive wide media exposure.’ Sponsorship money is vital for many sporting teams to survive, so next time you see that beer company logo on a jersey or stadium signage, be sure to raise your glass in thanks!

beer benefitsIt fosters ‘hoppiness!’

A group of researchers from Indiana University placed tiny amounts of beer (just 15ml) on the tongue’s of 49 adult men over the course of 15 minutes, then tracked changes in their brain chemistry. The effect was definite. Their brains released much higher levels of dopamine within minutes, compared to when the same test was conducted on other subjects with water and Gatorade. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres, and is fondly known as the happiness or feel-good drug.

Do you enjoy a post-game beer with the lads/ladies? And has this article helped you to indulge guilt-free? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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