5 Healthy Ways to Use Beer

Don’t just drink beer on St. Patty’s Day—it serves multiple health purposes, too.

Don’t just drink beer—take advantage of its health benefits, too. Photograph courtesy of Flickr user Cambridge Brewing Co.

For many us—Irish roots notwithstanding—St. Patrick’s Day justifies aggressive beer purchasing and consumption. And since it falls on a Saturday this year, the celebrations are likely to be as serious as ever. But if you somehow find yourself with an extra beer or two, try one of these alternative uses for your favorite St. Patty’s Day beverage.

1) Wash your body or condition your hair.
Beer contains proteins that are good for the hair and skin, so it can help repair damage, and vitamin B can help with shine. In fact, Lush in Georgetown sells shampoo made with beer. Cynthia Sylvia Stout shampoo is great for dry hair because its proteins add weight and shine without making hair oily. But since alcohol can do more drying than the proteins can repair, it’s best to boil and cool your beer first to cook off the alcohol. Then treat your hair between shampooing and conditioning.

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2) Soothe your tough soles.
Many spas in Europe, and even some in the US, offer pedicures that begin by soaking the feet in a tub of beer and water. The yeast is said to soften the skin, while the alcohol kills any lingering bacteria and microbes. For a home pedicure, try mixing a bottle of beer from the fridge with a bucket of warm water and soaking your feet for 15 minutes or so before going about your normal routine.

3) Settle your stomach.
Saturday celebrations leave you feeling rough? There may be something to the hair of the dog idea after all: Men’s Health reports that the carbonation in beer is said to help settle upset stomachs, as much as 7Up or Sprite does.

4) Make a healthy main course for dinner.
If the weather’s nice, fire up the grill for beer can chicken—this recipe from Weber is great. This technique, which requires propping a whole chicken up on a half-full can of beer and grilling, produces impossibly moist meat without adding much fat.

5) Help yourself get some shut-eye.
The smell of hops, used to varying degrees in beer production, is said to cause drowsiness. The Livestrong Foundation says using hops as a natural sleep aid is as effective as chamomile, and suggests brewing a tea from them before bed. Or dry the plant and store a small bundle in your pillowcase to help you doze off.