A new study out of Greece, conducted by the Harokopio University in Athens, appears to show that drinking a pint of beer a day may be beneficial to your heart. According to the abstract from the journal Nutrition:
In a randomized, single-blind, crossover study, 17 healthy, non-smoking, men (ages 28.5 ± 5.2 y with body mass index 24.4 ± 2.5 kg/m2) consumed on three separate occasions, at least 1 wk apart: 1. 400 mL of beer and 400 mL water, 2. 800 mL of dealcoholized beer (same amount of polyphenols as in the 400 mL of beer), and 3. 67 mL of vodka and 733 mL water (same amount of alcohol as in the 400 mL of beer).
Each time aortic stiffness (pulse wave velocity), pressure wave reflections (AΙx), aortic and brachial pressure (Sphygmocor device), and endothelial function (brachial flow mediated dilatation) were assessed at fast and 1 and 2 h postprandial.
Aortic stiffness was significantly and similarly reduced by all three interventions. However, endothelial function was significantly improved only after beer consumption (average 1.33%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.15–2.53). Although wave reflections were significantly reduced by all three interventions (average of beer: 9.1%, dealcoholized beer: 2.8%, vodka 8.5%, all CI within limits of significance), the reduction was higher after beer consumption compared with dealcoholized beer (P = 0.018). Pulse pressure amplification (i.e., brachial/aortic) was increased by all three test drinks.
From which, they drew the following conclusion. “Beer acutely improves parameters of arterial function and structure, in healthy non-smokers. This benefit seems to be mediated by the additive or synergistic effects of alcohol and antioxidants and merits further investigation.” So the results are preliminary and further studies need to be done. Still, it’s a step in the right direction if drinking beer in moderation can add one more benefit to the growing number of reasons why having a beer day isn’t just an enjoyable way to live, but may also be good for you, too. I’ll drink to that.