NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Dark Beer is Better for the Heart

January 22, 2004

Like chocolate and wine, the darker the beer, the better it may be for your health, according to a new study.

In a comparison of Guinness stout, a dark beer and Heineken, a light beer, the darker brew had substantially more anti-clotting activity, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison scientist. He found:

  • Guinness proved to be about twice as effective at preventing the blood platelets from clumping and forming the kind of clot that can cause a heart attack -- a result of the flavonoids in the beer.
  • Flavonoids also work to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol, which plays a role in causing atherosclerosis -- known as hardening of the arteries.
  • In addition, flavonoids help arteries dilate, which improves blood flow and blood pressure.

To get the optimal anti-clotting effect, a person would have to reach a blood alcohol level of 0.06 percent. For the typical person, that could be accomplished with two 12-ounce bottles.

However, doctors warn that even though dark beer may have heart-health properties, it also has higher calories.

Source: John Fauber, "Dark for the Heart," Indianapolis Star, January 7, 2004.


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