Spinach, kale, avocado, Guinness—A few of our favorite health foods. OK maybe we’re using the word “health food” a little freely, but we do have proof that it’s good for you (just like the old advertising slogan says). So this St. Patrick’s Day, fill your pint glass with the good stuff. Sláinte! (Which btw, is an Irish Gaelic saying for “cheers” and literally translates to “health.” Coincidence? We think not).
1) Antioxidants make it heart healthy
Move over, red wine. A 2003 study claimed that a pint of Guinness could cut the risk of blood clots forming in the arteries, while other beers didn’t have the same effect. You can thank flavonoids, a plant-based antioxidant found in certain drinks and dark chocolate, for this heart healthy benefit.
2) Iron does a body good
Though Guinness only contains .3 mg of iron per pint, most adults don’t reach their recommended 9-18 mg/day, so we say every sip counts! There was even a time when Guinness was given to post-op patients and pregnant women, and as recently as 2010, it was given to people after they donated blood to help replenish their iron levels.
3) It’s considered a “light” beer
Don’t let the color fool ya. A Guinness only has 15 more calories than a Bud Light and 5 more calories than the same amount of skim milk. Plus, you’re going to feel a lot fuller after a Guinness than a Bud Light (thanks to the CO2 and Nitrogen carbonation that leads to its thick, creamy texture), saving yourself from the extra food calories later. Drunchies beware.
4) It’s good for your bones
Beer contains a plant hormone called phytoestrogen, which is key to building dense bones, plus has calcium and dietary silicon, important for growth and development of bone and connective tissues. Studies have shown moderate beer drinkers to be less likely to have osteoporosis and lower risk of hip fractures. Of course, like with anything, moderation is key – overindulging can have reverse effects.
5) It’s relatively low on alcohol content
When comparing to other beers, Guinness has a lower ABV (4.2% compared with your average beer at 5%). So for party goers and bar frequenters, Guinness leans on the more responsible side.
6) It will make you the life of the party
If Elle Woods taught us anything, it’s that endorphins make us happy. Light to moderate drinking triggers these “feel good” chemicals in your brain (though as many of us have probably experienced, overdoing it will have the opposite effect). So on St. Patrick’s Day, help yourself to a pint or two of Guinness, and enjoy being the most fun, social, happiest friend at the party. Bonus effect: It will make everyone around you more fun and attractive too.
7) It contains folate, fiber, and ferulic acid
Guinness contains more folate, a nutrient we need to make DNA, than any other beer. And it’s high in barley, which makes it one of the beers with the highest levels of fiber (while Bud Light and most other light beers don’t contain any. Thank u, next). High levels of barley also equal high levels of ferulic acid, which is associated with improved immune function. And all that fiber and ferulic acid lead to a couple of other benefits too…
8) It’s anti-inflammatory
9) It lowers bad cholesterol
Not to sound like a broken record, but have we told you about the benefits of fiber? It’s really good for you. And the soluble fiber in beer can help reduce LDL (aka “bad” cholesterol) – plus it has a variety of other health benefits like promoting healthy blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels.
10) It helps hydrate post-workout
Maybe the most surprising of them all, one study showed that people who drank a post-workout pint of beer were more hydrated than those who drank water. Probably why a beer at the top of a hike feels so right.
So there you have it. A little bit of science and a little bit of Irish luck. Either way, feel good this weekend when you reach for that creamy, malty goodness.