A study has shown that the bones of women who drink beer are stronger, making them less likely to suffer from osteoporosis.
The journal Nutrition reported that a high level of silicon in beer slows down the thinning of bones, which leads to fractures, while boosting the formation of new bone.
Beer is rich in phytoestrogens, the plant form of oestrogen, which keeps bones healthy.
Bones are made of fibers, minerals, blood vessels and marrow, and healthier ones are denser with smaller spaces between the different parts.
Researchers surveyed 1,700 healthy women at an average age of 48, questioning them about their drinking habits. The team then evaluated their hands using an ultrasound scan, which results showed that the beer drinkers had denser bones.
The hands were looked at because the bones in the fingers are among the first signs of osteoporosis, which is a bone disease that leads to an increased risk of fractures.
The women who drank less than a pint a day had similar results to those who drank more. The researchers said this suggests that even small amounts of beer make for healthier bones.
The team said, “Silicon plays a major role in bone formation. Beer has been claimed to be one of the most important sources of silicon in the Western diet.”
Three million Britons face osteoporosis, which is most common with women after they experience menopause.
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