Good news for beer buffs: A pint of the beverage a day may ward off your heart disease risk by more than a quarter, a new study has claimed.
Researchers who have analysed 16 studies involving more than 200,000 participants found that the heart disease risk for moderate beer drinkers — those who drank about a pint a day — was reduced by 31 per cent on average.
The findings, published online by the European Journal of Epidemiology, confirmed what was already known about wine, said the researchers.
“In our research we considered wine and beer separately: you first observe a reduction in cardiovascular risk with low to moderate drinking,” said Simona Costanzo, first author of the study, conducted at research labs at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura “Giovanni Paolo II” in Campobasso, Italy.
“Then, with an increasing consumption, you can see that the advantage disappears, until the risk gets higher. The interesting part of our research is that, among the studies selected for this meta-analysis, there were 12 in which wine and beer consumption could be compared directly,” she said.
“Using these data we were able to observe that the risk curves for the two beverages are closely overlapping.”
But beer as well as wine, drinkers, should be cautious before toasting too much at these results, researchers added.
Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association who was not involved with the new study, said the findings were not surprising.
“Alcohol in moderation can increase your HDL, your good cholesterol. The higher your HDL is, the more protected you are against heart disease,” Giancoli told LiveScience.
Drinking beer may even have some benefits wine does not, Giancoli said. Beer contains more water, and because some people feel bloated by drinking it, they may find it easier to moderate their alcohol intake.
The researchers also noted that heart benefits did not seem to extend to drinking spirits, although fewer statistics were available on that subject.
There is always the possibility that factors aside from the drinks are responsible for the benefits, the researchers conceded, but they said they attempted to control for these.
Everyone is looking for a reason to drink beer. Right? It turns out that a lot of people are. So here are 10 great reasons to drink more beer. Not only that, but they’re all true. Beer really is good for your health, so drink up!
1. Beer Reduces Stress
Alcohol in general has been shown to reduce stress. This one is obvious, and may be the best reason beer is good for your health.
2. Beer is Good for the Heart
A study was conducted from 1982 – 1996 on the elderly. It was found that those who drank at least 1.5 per day had a 20-50 percent less chance of having heart failure.
3. Beer Improves Blood Circulation
Beer increases your “good” cholesterol, or HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Its basically a kind of blood fat, so it reduces blood’s tendency to clot.
4. Beer is Chock Full o’ Fiber
The fiber comes from the cell walls of the malted barley. A liter of beer can have as much as 60% of your daily recommended fiber. The extra fiber will keep you regular and can also lower the risk of heart disease.
5. Beer as a Multi-vitamin
Beer is a significant source of magnesium, selenium, potassium, phosphorus, biotin, folate, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12
6. Beer can Prevent Strokes
A study published in Stroke magazine in 2001 showed that alcohol drinkers have fewer strokes. Because it thins the blood, it increases the circulation in the brain, thereby protecting from silent strokes which are cause by tiny blood clots.
7. Beer keeps your Brain Young
A large study, published in the December 2001 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, was conducted on elderly italian men and women. It showed that moderate drinkers had a 40% lower risk of mental impairment.
8. Beer is Good for your Liver
Alcohol expands the small blood vessels in the liver. This speeds up metabolism so it can help clean all the toxins out of the liver. This is from Beer Net Publication, April 2001 Biological Institute.
9. Beer Cures Insomnia
Lactoflavin and nicotinic acid, both present in beer, can promote sleep. Also hops are a natural sedative.
10. Beer Fends off Gallstones
According to Professor Oliver James at the University of Newcastle, beer protects against gallstones and kidney stones.