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HEART SHOCK11 - Official Drinking Guinness is GOOD for your HEALTH; STOUT LOWERS BLOOD CLOT RISK.

Byline: TOM REILLY

DRINKING Guinness can dramatically reduce the risk of heart attacks, a report showed yesterday.

Scientists claim the famous Irish stout contains anti-clotting properties which help the flow of blood around the body - reducing the amount of strain put on the heart.

Researchers in America said dark beer contains more flavonoids, which thin the blood.

Flavonoids stop the oxidation of cholesterol, which causes arteries to harden and blood to clot leading to coronary failure.

They can also help the arteries to dilate, easing blood pressure by allowing it to flow around the body more smoothly.

Professor John Folts, who led the study, began the research by testing the difference stout and lager had on eight dogs with constricted arteries.

They were sometimes given dark beer and sometimes lager.

Prof Folts found that the stout was twice as effective in preventing blood clots. The animals fed dark beer were shown to have significantly thinner blood than those given lager and ale, despite their alcohol levels being the same.

The research on dogs was carried out last year, but since then the study has been carried out on humans with similar results.

Prof Folts, cardiologist at the University of Wisconsin, said: "This study would seem to show that if you do drink dark beers - like Guinness, you could lower the chances of suffering a heart attack.

"Obviously there are some health risks if you drink too much, so I wouldn't want to advise people to go out and get drunk every night as that's not going to be too healthy.

"Moderate drinking of alcoholic drinks has shown to reduce the risks of heart disease compared with abstinence and heavy drinking.

"But research suggests the type of drink does make a difference because pure alcohol does not account for these beneficial effects. In studies comparing red wine, white wine, beer, and liquor, red wine and dark beer seem to provide more protection than other types of alcohol.

"Personally, I start the day with a glass of red grape fruit juice as this also contains flavonoids.

"The thought of a bottle of Guinness at the start of the day is probably a bit much for me.

"In fact, when it comes to getting my flavonoids, I usually go for a nice glass or two of red wine with my dinner."

The study saw one group of researchers drink two 355 millilitre cans of Guinness a day, while the other group were given two cans of Heineken.

However, doctors warned that even though dark beer may have heart-healthy properties, it also has a downside - extra calories.

Dark chocolate and red wine have similar properties, but they also provide extra calories, and obesity is a risk factor for heart disease.

Professor Folts was one of the first scientists to demonstrate that aspirin can prevent blood clots at the University of Wisconsin in 1975.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 15, 2004
Words:479
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