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A Beer Or Two May be Good for Your Heart Health

We all know the negative effects of drinking too much alcohol, but did you know that having a couple beers in the evening may actually improve your heart health? That’s according to a recently released study from Greek researchers, which suggests that drinking beer may improve endothelial function and aortic stiffness.

Participants in the study included 17 healthy, non-smoking men with an average age of 28.5 and an average weight of 77.5 kg. The men consumed one of three drinks, with at least a week between each one. They were: 400 mL of beer and 400 mL of water, 800 mL of dealcoholized beer, or 67 mL of vodka and 733 mL of water.

The researchers noted that aortic stiffness was reduced by about the same amount by all three drinks. However, only the beer seemed to result in improved endothelial function, with a 1.33% average improvement.

Wave reflections - another biomarker of cardiovascular disease – were reduced by 9.1% in the beer group, 8.5% in the vodka group, and 2.8% in the dealcoholized beer group.

The researchers hypothesized that the alcohol and the non-alcoholic components of the drinks worked together to create the positive heart health benefits seen here.

Researchers from Harokopio University, Athens Medical School, and Hellenic Institute of Nutrition in Greece conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on July 1, 2013, in the journal Nutrition.

While this study suggests that drinking beer may be good for your heart, the benefits associated with beer disappear with high consumption. Therefore, beer should be consumed in moderation and combined with healthy foods.

Previous studies have linked beer with raising HDL (or “good”) blood pressure, protecting against type 2 diabetes, and preventing dementia. Researchers believe that these positive health benefits are a result of the vitamins, minerals, and alcohol present in beer.

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