Why drinking beer could be good for your heart

But any positive effects were negated by heavy drinking 

Will Worley
Monday 14 November 2016 18:09
Beer may contribute to improved cholesterol levels
Beer may contribute to improved cholesterol levels

Drinking a beer a day could benefit ‘good cholesterol’ in the body.

Moderate alcohol consumption, particularly of beer, was found to contribute to a slower decline in high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or ‘good cholesterol’ in a study by researchers from Pennsylvania State University.

HDL helps remove ‘bad cholesterol’ - low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - from arteries.

Blood vessels with a build-up of LDL can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems and stroke, but more HDL in the body can prevent large amounts of LDL accumulating.

The study joins a significant number of others suggesting the positive effects of alcohol on health, some of which draw conclusions contrary to each other.

The six-year study of 80,000 healthy adults in China found drinking moderately was associated with a slower decline in HDL compared to teetotallers.

However, the research, presented at an American Heart Association conference, also said the alcohol-induced benefits of slowed HDL decline were almost eliminated in heavy drinkers.

The rate of HDL decline was slowest in moderate beer drinkers, according to the study. People who drank spirits only experienced the benefits when their consumption was in light to moderate amounts.

There were not enough wine drinkers surveyed to draw sufficient conclusions on the effect it had on good cholesterol.

While the conclusions of the study were optimistic, the researchers conceded further research of a similar nature would be needed to be done in another country to draw more solid conclusions.

In the UK, the recommended amount of alcohol is 14 units of alcohol per week, which equates to six pints of beer.

Doctors have maintained that alcohol consumption comes with risks, including liver damage, weight gain, disturbed sleep and heightened chances of developing cancer.

There are also other ways to reduce ‘bad cholesterol’ besides consuming alcohol, such as making dietary and lifestyle changes.

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