The 181st Oktoberfest kicked off in Munich, Germany, this past weekend, which means you have just under two weeks (festivities technically end on October 5th) to celebrate your love of beer—or to give yourself an excuse to go to happy hour.
While we can’t help you justify downing several humongous steins of brew, we can deliver this nugget of good news: Research suggests beer may have some serious health advantages.
It may help reduce arthritis risk
In a recent study in Arthritis & Rheumatism, women who drank three to five beers per week had a 31% lower risk for rheumatoid arthritis, a disease that primarily affects women, compared to women who abstained from drinking. Now you have an excuse to have that beer with dinner. (Thanks, science).
It could help build strong bones
No, you shouldn’t start pouring beer into your morning cereal, but a glass or two of suds has been linked to better bone strength and health, according to a study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Beer is rich in dietary silicon, which is a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Can’t decide which brew to buy? Go for ones rich in malted barley and hops, which contain the highest levels of silicon.
It may prevent kidney stones
Around 30% of Americans will have a kidney stone in their lifetime, according a study in Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Luckily, the study also found that men and women who reported drinking a moderate amount of beer were found to have a 41% reduced risk of developing a stone, compared to people who did not drink. (Consequently, it also found that drinking soda increased people’s risk by 23%—just another reason to put down the soda can.)
It could keep your brain sharp
Women who have one alcoholic drink a day (yes, that also includes wine and spirits) are less likely to see a decline in mental abilities and memories as they age compared to their non-drinking counterparts or heavier drinking counterparts, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. Looks like your beer-sipping grandma had the right idea, after all.
It may boost heart health
A large meta-analysis published in the European Journal of Epidemiology found that people who drank about a pint of beer a day were 31% less likely to suffer from heart attacks, heart disease, or strokes, compared to people who refrained from drinking.