Raise a glass of Guinness this St. Patrick’s Day and say “cheers” to your good health. The old advertising slogan “Guinness is Good for You,” may be true after all, according to researchers. A study by the University of Wisconsin found that drinking Guinness, a type of ale known as a stout, can reduce blood clots and the risk for heart attack. That’s because the black brew contains antioxidants like those found in red wine and dark chocolate.
The study found Guinness to be twice as effective at preventing blood platelets from clumping and forming the kind of clot that can cause a heart attack than a light beer, says Active. The beneficial effects come from the flavonoids in beer, the same compounds that provide the dark color in many fruits and vegetables.
Flavonoids also help reduce the oxidation of cholesterol, which plays a role in the hardening of the arteries, known as atherosclerosis. These plant compounds also help arteries dilate, which improves blood pressure, said Dr. John Folts, the study’s main author, a retired professor of medicine at UW Medical School.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the nutrients in a pint of Guinness can serve as a meal replacement, and can lift your sprits at the same time. A pint of the good, foamy stout can even help your social life by lowering inhibitions, so you tend to converse with your fellow drinkers.
Guinness contains 3 milligrams of iron, and while it is not as beneficial as eating spinach, it’s healthier than drinking lighter beer. And after a brew or two, you may feel the urge to start dancing like Michael Flatley, which is an excellent cardiovascular exercise.
The original Guinness is made from a grain that includes a large amount of roasted barley, which gives it its intense flavor and very dark color, says CNN. Like most beers, it contains significant amounts of antioxidants, B vitamins, the mineral silicon, which may stave off osteoporosis, soluble fiber and prebiotics which help promote the “good” bacteria in your gut.
And it has lots of beneficial folate, a B vitamin that helps our bodies make DNA and other genetic material.
“We showed that Guinness contained the most folate of the imported beers we analyzed,” said Charlie Bamforth, a professor of brewing sciences at the University of California, Davis. According to his research, stouts on average have 12.8 micrograms of folate, or 3.2% of the recommended daily allowance.
And more good news ― fewer calories. Despite its rich flavor and creamy consistency, Guinness has fewer calories than other beers. A 12-ounce serving of Guinness Draught has 125 calories compared to the same serving of Budweiser (145 calories) and Heineken (142 calories), according to CNN. Samuel Adams Cream Stout has a whopping 189 calories per similar serving.
But like any other alcohol beverage, moderation is the key. The USDA's dietary guidelines define moderation as no more than two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
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