Beer drinkers' guide to a healthier heart

It is the beer that refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach. But the refreshing beverage is not Heineken but Guinness. In a development that backs the advertising slogan "Guinness is good for you", scientists have found the famous Irish stout reduces the risk of blood clots that cause heart attacks.

Dark beer is rich in flavenoids which have powerful anti-oxidant effects, combating the build-up of fatty deposits in the arteries, said Professor John Folts, director of the Coronary Thrombosis Research Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. Light-coloured beers, such as lagers, lacked the same health-giving punch.

Professor Folts presented his Guinness vs Heineken study at the American Heart Association's annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. He and his colleagues fed the beers to eight dogs via tubes directly into their stomachs and observed the effects on their blood. Only those given Guinness had reduced stickiness of their blood owing to the effect of the dark beer on the platelets which control blood clotting. All the dogs had narrowed arteries from heart disease.

It had been thought that small quantities of beer can benefit the heart because of their alcohol, but the study suggests the type of beer may also be important.

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