Just what the doctor ordered

Two studies find beer has same health benefits as red wine

Aug 28, 2002 - Two recent scientific studies support the notion that beer consumed in moderation may be good for drinkers' health:


- One was carried out on an all-male team from the University of New England in New South Wales found that antioxidant levels in bloods increased after drinking red wine and beer, but less so after drinking white wine.

Lead researcher Prof. Ken Watson said that the results suggest possible health benefits of drinking red wine and beer include lower cholesterol and prevention of cell death. Researchers noted that the benefits were only linked to moderate amounts of alcohol. Antioxidant levels did not increase any further after two standard drinks.

"The scientific evidence that moderate drinking has health benefits is now overwhelming," Watson said. "The myth that red wine is a more effective source of antioxidants than beer is losing ground."

- Researchers at Harvard Medical School have discovered that drinking a few glasses of beer every week reduces the risk of hyper-tension, the disorder that causes high blood pressure, heart attacks and convulsions in pregnancy. Their findings were based on a study of more than 70,000 female nurses who are taking part in one of the world's most extensive and longest-running studies into serious illness.

The Nurses' Health Study, which was originally set up in 1976 to investigate the effects of oral contraceptives, found that women who drank about half a pint of beer every few days were at lower risk of hypertension than non-drinkers.

This study also came to the conclusion that beer offers the same antioxidants as red wine, reducing cholesterol, and reputedly soaking up damaging free radicals and trace elements, which are good for the body.

But the good news ends there. The study confirmed that heavier drinking, involving more than a pint of beer every day, increased the risk of hypertension. That risk increased by 30% for women who drank two or more pints a day.