Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beer reduces risk of cardiovascular events

I have been telling you this all along, and now there is more proof. A recent meta-analysis in the European Journal of Epidemiology found, for the first time, that beer is just as effective as wine in reducing the risk of cardiovascular events.  This article summarized the findings from 13 studies and determined that the optimal 'dose' of beer was 43g/day of alcohol. This amount reduced your vascular risk by 42%. Vascular risk refers to all complications from your blood circulatory system: heart attacks, stroke, etc. 43grams of alcohol works out to around two (small) bottles of Chimay blue or 3 regular beers a day (5% ABV). What was significant about this study was that for the first time both beer and wine were shown to equally reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The data produced two similar J-shaped curves graphs. A J-shaped curve for health risk tells you two things. With a little drink, your risk drops. That's the bottom part of the 'J'. As you drink more, your risk factors actually increase. This is the upstroke of the 'J'. There is a great description of this at wineanorak.

The reasons for this protection can be partially attributed to the polyphenols in both wine and beer. These polyphenols are thought to acts as mild blood thinners and can make your blood vessels work better. Whereas ethanol itself can increase your good cholesterol, lower your bad cholesterol, thin your blood and reduce inflammation. I am actually feeling healthier whenever I lift this bottle of beer to my lips.

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