Many of our heart monitoring equipment experts at Cardiac Monitoring Service have enjoyed drinking the oft-advocated glass of red wine a day due to a series of studies documenting the drink’s life-extending health benefits. However, studies have found that drinking a pint of beer daily may actually aid your heart’s health as well.
Greek researchers at Harokopio University in Athens found that arteries in the heart became more flexible and blood flow improved within a few hours of drinking beers. Their study included 17 healthy, non-smoking men in their late twenties and early thirties who were measured for cardiovascular function within two hours after drinking 400 milliliters of beer. Interestingly, the researchers also found that consuming comparable amounts of alcohol-free beer and vodka did not have the same positive effect in the participants’ cardiac function.
The findings were published in the Nutrition Journal, and revealed that endothelial function, or how easily blood passes through major arteries, was significantly improved only after consumption of the alcoholic beer. Non-alcoholic beer and vodka did have a positive effect on aortic stiffness, or how relaxed or hardened arteries are, but alcoholic beer provided the best results. Beer’s alcohol and antioxidants were said by the researchers to be the most likely cause for these health benefits.
The study concluded that “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.”
Even more exciting and definitive results were discovered by a team of researchers at Italy’s Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura after compiling several different studies exploring the link between beer drinking and cardiovascular disease. Their research had a data set of over 200,000 people, and found that regular moderate beer drinking carries almost exactly the same health benefit that had previously been demonstrated for wine consumption. Compared to non-drinkers, moderate beer drinkers can expect to enjoy a 31 percent reduction in the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Researchers discovered that the best combination was drinking around 12 ounces of beer containing 5 percent alcohol every day, since the cardiovascular advantages of consuming beer and wine disappeared after subjects went past the low to moderate threshold in the amount of beverages consumed.
The results of both studies rose more than a few questions, but the most difficult puzzle to solve was exactly where the health benefits were coming from. Some may conclude that the alcohol itself plays a part in the reduction of the risk of heart disease. Of course, another possibility may be that the health benefits of wine and beer come from the healthier lifestyles associated with regular, moderate drinking and not the beverages themselves.
It is important to stress that responsible wine and beer consumption is part of a healthy lifestyle, and heavy or binge drinking had no place in any of the research studies mentioned. Regardless, for many beer lovers these studies can provide not only great dinner party conversation, but confidence in maintaining a healthier heart as well!
Reduction of risk from a healthy lifestyle is never a guarantee that heart problems won’t ever present themselves, especially as people age. Our team at Cardiac Monitoring Service provides state of the art holter monitors and cardiac event monitors with the goal of providing the best possible heart health to all of your patients. Contact us today to start providing Cardiac Monitoring Services tomorrow!