The famous slogan of St. Patrick’s Day’s favorite libation, “Guinness is good for you,” might be more than just nostalgic advertising. While the beer company has gone on the record to say it doesn’t support that claim, research shows that drinking beer in moderation can be healthful in that it decreases your risk of kidney stones, heart disease, and certain cancers, while providing your body with essential nutrients. Here are four more reasons that a pint of Guinness is a good for your health, as well as your taste buds:
1. It won’t destroy your diet.
Despite its rich flavor and reputation for being heavy ale, Guinness has less carbohydrates and calories than most light beers (yes really!). At just 170 calories per pint, it won’t upset your calorie count as much as wine, orange juice, and reduced-fat milk.
2. You’re less likely to overindulge.
Most Irishmen and beer connoisseurs would agree that Guinness is meant to be savored. Its hearty, thick consistency ensures you’ll most likely sip this brew instead of embark on a beer-chugging contest. You can nurse one or two pints of this libation and still participate in the St. Patrick’s Day merry-making for hours—and be less tempted to go overboard.
3. It’s chocked full of essential, heart-healthy nutrients.
We’ve long heard about the health benefits of drinking wine, but it turns out that beer contains all the nutrients of wine—and sometimes in higher doses. According to a Dutch study conducted at the TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, beer drinkers had 30% higher levels of vitamin B6 in their blood than non-beer drinkers—twice the amount of red-wine drinkers. According to several studies, including one conducted at the Institute of Epidemiology at the University of Muenster, moderate beer drinking reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. The reasons are simple: Alcohol can increase HDL—or “good” cholesterol—levels and reduce the chance of arteries hardening and blood thickening—two main contributors to heart attacks. Guinness especially is known as a hearty and nutrient-rich beer so if you’re inclined to get your vitamins through your adult beverages, Guinness is a great choice.
4. It can help nursing mothers produce milk.
Guinness has traditionally been used to stimulate breast-milk production in nursing women. It might seem like an old wives’ tale, passed down through generations of Irish mothers, but there is evidence to suggest there is some truth to the tip. A small amount of alcohol increases blood flow, which helps to stimulate production. It also calms stress, which can cause mothers to stop producing milk. In addition, Guinness is rich in iron and vitamin B, essential nutrients for milk production.