Yep, you read that right. According to Karen Ansel and, there may be more to beer than meets the eye.

Like it's more famous heath-boosting alcoholic cousin, wine, beer offers benefits beyond relaxation and refreshment. Ansel says:

It helps your heart. According to a 2008 article published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association people who drink one to two alcoholic drinks of any kind are at a lower risk for heart disease. Experts believe alcohol decreases the likelihood of blood clots by increasing levels of "good" HDL cholesterol while lowering unhealthy LDL cholesterol.

You can count calories. Not all beer requires a calorie splurge – light beer allows you to enjoy a 12-once cold one for only 100 calories. With reduced alcohol and carb content, light beer is a waistline-friendly option that still offers heart benefits with moderate consumption.

Drinking beer builds more than your tolerance level. Excessive drinking weakens bones, but responsible imbibing can actually strengthen them. In a study at Tufts University, men who drank between one to two beers a day had hip bone densities that were three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half times greater than their teetotaling counterparts.

A six-pack is packed with fiber. Blame it on the barley: one of beer's primary ingredients contains beta-glucans, a soluble fiber that is believed to support heart health by lowering cholesterol.

It's packing B vitamins, too. B vitamins like folate, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and vitamins B6 and B12 can all be found in your brewski. A 12-ounce beer contains 3% percent of the recommended daily intake of B12, and 12.5% of vitamin B6. These Bs help your heart by lowering homocysteine, an amino acid that may damage your arteries and encourage the formation of blood clots.

It may stop stones in their tracks. According to an article in the Winter 2011 issue of ADA Times, beer may play a role in reducing kidney stones. Research compared beer to other alcoholic beverages and found that beer lowered the risk of kidney stones thanks to its high water content and diuretic properties. Compounds in hops may also slow the release of calcium from bone, which is implicated in the development of kidney stones.

Of course, the “everything in moderation” rule applies. Responsible beer consumption may have health benefits, but binge drinking is best left to Belushi in Animal House.

Now pass me a brew. I'm feeling thirsty.