DIET AND FITNESS:

Does Beer Raise Blood Pressure? -
A Comprehensive Review
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February 12, 2010, last updated March 5, 2012

By Katrina Devine, Contributing Columnist


Everything in moderation is often quoted as the recipe for
good health. When it comes to beer this seems to be the
consensus among the scientific community.

But how much is moderate?

The CDC recommends that men only have two drinks a day
and women have only one? One drink is equal to 12 ounces
of beer. One of the reasons given for this is that beer can
raise your blood pressure leading to hypertension.
Hypertension as we’ve discussed before can lead to heart
attacks or strokes.

However, there has been some debate about whether it is
true that beer always leads to high blood pressure. There
have been many studies conducted into the overall effects of
alcohol. However, it seems the overall results indicate that
too much alcohol will lead to
high blood pressure.


One important study conducted a Harvard found that the
lowest levels of hypertension were found in subjects that
drank one to three drinks per day. This was supported by a
subsequent study in 2002 that looked at the effects over an
8 year period. This study found that women who had half a
drink per day were less likely to develop high blood pressure
than those who did not drink at all.

A study published by the American Heart Association in
2008, also conducted in Harvard, found that there seems to
be an increased risk of hypertension in women who
consumed moderate amounts of alcohol and no significant
risk to men. Another study which was conducted over a 21
year period published in the British Medical Journal
conducted by scientists at Bristol University claimed that
there were no health benefits to drinking moderately. The
study did show that drinking heavy was bad for you.




























This shows that there are certainly mixed results. The Dietary
Guidelines for Americans 2005 states that drinking in
moderation by adults as defined by the CDC above can lead
to decreased risk of heart disease. However, they advocate
an overall healthy living lifestyle. This is important to
remember one of the proven ways to fight high blood
pressure is to eat the foods and exercise regularly.

No one should drink as a preventive health measure as there
are other methods.

Another factor to consider is that often beer, because it
contains empty calories can lead to weight gain and there is
no dispute that excess weight leads to higher blood
pressure. That’s not even considering any snacks you like to
consume with your beer that contain high levels of salt.


Good news for Stout drinkers


Despite the above research seeming to point to beer being
bad for you if drank in anything but moderation, a study has
found that all beers are not created equal.

In its native Ireland, Guinness stout has long been praised
for its health benefits.  In the early 19th century, it was even
prescribed to pregnant women to improve their iron levels.
This certainly is not a recommendation pregnant women
should follow today given what we now know about the
connection between fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol
consumption of any type!  Back in the early 19th century,
the Guinness advertising slogans  included the sayings -
"Guinness is good for you" and "A Guinness a day keeps the
doctor away". Surely too good to be true?

But, there actually do appear to be some beneficial effects on
high blood pressure connected with drinking certain type so
beer. A 2003 study from a professor at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison (John Folts) tested the effects on
subjects drinking Guinness stout versus those drinking
Heineken. The study, which was presented at an annual  
meeting of the American Heart Association,  found that the
stout helped to improve blood pressure by improving the
dilation of arteries. The benefits come from the existence of
flavonoids that come from the plants used in brewing.
Guinness stout apparently has far more compounds that
prevent clotting than Heineken.

A word of caution. The scientists recommended always
drinking the stout with meals to reduce your risk of
becoming drunk.


Related:

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Waist Size Matters
Bowel Movements Indicate Your Overall Health
Snoring Linked to Stroke
My Heart Attack-Personal Stories from Survivors
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