Beer and Stress
2012 Health Benefits of Beer
Beer and Stress
The relationship between beer and stress has been one of the most established connections between “food” and mood. Many people around the world run to bars and pubs to get their alcoholic fix, most notably beer, whenever they feel they are too stressed or too pressured. So the question is: is beer and stress a good relationship that we should nurture or is it something we should seek to avoid and terminate?
In the following paragraphs, we will talk about the dynamics between beer and stress. Specifically we will try to answer the following questions:
1. Why do we tend to drink alcohol when we are stressed?
2. What is the benefit of beer to the body particularly when it comes to mitigating the effects of stress?
3. What are the downsides to drinking beer when one is stressed?
Beer and stress is a connection that has long been established as a part of many cultures and is therefore more psychological than anything else. From a purely medical perspective, there is no reason that beer and stress should go hand-in-hand; however, as with many other habits that people acquire over the years, beer becomes closely associated with stress and is therefore one of the first things we take to whenever we feel that we are having a down day. The same can be said of many other habits like cigarette smoking or food binging. These are equal manifestations of psychological connections that have been made as a personal defense mechanism for stressors.
The upside to the beer and stress connection is that indeed, beer or most alcoholic drinks for that matter, have been shown to lower stress levels to a certain degree and depending on how much you drink per session. This is because alcohol is a vasodilator and it works by dilating the blood vessels allowing for more blood flow to the brain. Beer also contains its fair share of B-vitamins which it gets from the malt and are essential for various body processes. A healthy dose of beer, from 1 to 2 glasses a day, would be beneficial for combating stress to a certain extent.
However, excessive consumption of beer brings many disadvantages that easily outweigh its benefits. For example, alcohol in large amounts can put a heavy burden on the workload of many organs like the kidneys and liver. The by-products of alcohol digestion – an aldehyde – is also widely considered a toxin and has to be flushed out or else it can cause serious damage to internal organs. Alcohol is also a dehydrating agent leading to that all-too-familiar hangover the morning after when the brain has been stripped of water leading to headaches.
To fully reap the benefits of the beer and stress relationship, doctors recommend moderate drinking between 1 and 2 glasses as indicated. This brings enough just enough alcohol to relieve common stressors but not too much as to introduce another form of stress to the body. If you are indeed serious and concerned about your health, you will learn to look at beer as an aid to help you snap out of the doldrums but would not abuse it as to cause long-term body damage. If you get this concept correctly, chances are that you would be better off than most people but only as long as you keep the alcohol intake into an acceptable minimum. Beyond that, you know you will start having bigger problems than just stress.