Beer and Your Kidney

Yes, it's true: Drinking beer can be good for your kidneys. Specifically, drinking beer in moderation can help prevent kidney stones–although other factors come into play as well, such as drinking lots of water, getting regular exercise and, oh yes, drinking beer in moderation.

How Does Beer Prevent Kidney Stones?

Drinking beer can help prevent kidney stones because it helps prevent calcium deposits from being formed in your kidneys. Stouts, porters or other beers with lots of hops are best. Calcium deposits mix with salts and other minerals and ultimately turn into kidney stones. Indeed, researchers in Finland in the 1980s conducted a study of 27,001 male smokers between the ages of 50 and 69 and found each daily bottle of beer consumed reduced the risk of kidney stones by 40 percent.

What If It's Too Late?

Drinking beer can also help the body void a kidney stone, simply because of its strong diuretic effects. Beer also dilates the urinary tract, making it easier, and less painful, to flush out a stone. Cranberry juice has the same effect, maintains author Duane Swierczynski of "The Big Book o' Beer: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Greatest Beverage on Earth."

Beer Isn't The Only Game in Town

Beer's curative powers in regard to kidney stones aren't unique. A six-year study by the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston concluded that not just beer but also coffee, tea and red wine can prevent kidney stones by preventing calcium deposits from building up. Meanwhile, cranberry juice is just as good a diuretic as beer should prevention efforts fail and a stone develop. Water is the best medicine, and in fact the biggest risk factor in developing kidney stones is to not drink enough water, at least eight glasses a day. And fruit juice lovers, beware: the same Harvard study concluded that drinking apple juice and grapefruit juice can actually increase the risk of kidney stone development.