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Sláinte! Guinness could be good for you

Research from the University of Wisconsin suggested that there may be a medical reason behind the so-called “luck of the Irish”, and it’s connected to the nation’s favourite drink.

The paper, originally published in 2003, resurfaced again last week on news site Meanwhile In Ireland in a piece praising the benefits of the drink from the Emerald Isle. Professor John Folts’ findings seemed to support the old advertising slogan used for the beer: “Guinness is good for you”.

Among the findings in the paper was the revelation that a pint of the black stuff could reduce the likelihood of blood clots, though the test subjects for the experiment were not humans, but dogs with narrowed arteries. Stout was found to significantly reduce clotting activity, unlike lager.

He theorised that the secret lay in Guinness’ antioxidant compounds, similar to those found in red wine. This particular class of compound, flavonoids, are also found in tea and dark chocolate.

Folts suggested that the optimal dose was 24 fluid ounces, just more than the 20 fluid ounces that make up a pint. This, he claimed, is as effective as an aspirin in reducing the risk of blood clotting. Ordering a pint and a half of Guinness could be one way to safeguard against the medical condition. However, research shows that in Ireland, alcohol consumption has significantly declined in recent years, with changes to pricing cited as a key factor.

European Commission data shows that Ireland has one of the lower numbers of deaths due to circulatory diseases in Europe (277.9 in 2018 per 100,000 inhabitants). But, it must be noted that there is no conclusive connection between this information and what people drink.

Diageo has not made any claims concerning any potential health benefits Guinness may have.

The findings chime with earlier findings reported on by the drinks business, that regular, moderate alcohol consumption could bring various cardiovascular health benefits.

There is also the possibility that, like red wine, consumption of Guinness may also lead to clear skin, though there has been no definitive research into the subject.

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