Drinking a pint of beer a day improves the condition of blood vessels around the heart, boosts blood flow and makes the arteries more flexible, a new study has claimed. Greek scientists found that arteries became more flexible and blood flow improved within a couple of hours of drinking the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint.
However, they found that alcohol-free beer did not have the same effect, 'The Sun' reported.
The findings support previous evidence that moderate beer consumption may protect against heart disease. Previous research has suggested a pint a day reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30 percent.
In the new study, scientists at Harokopio University in Athens recruited 17 non-smoking men in their late twenties and early thirties.
Each one had their cardiovascular health measured within an hour or two of drinking 400 millilitres of beer - equivalent to just over two-thirds of a pint.
They later had the same tests done after the same amount of alcohol-free beer or a measure of vodka.
Researchers tested for endothelial function a measure of how easily blood passes through major arteries as well as aortic stiffness, a check designed to assess whether blood vessels are nice and relaxed or beginning to harden.
The results showed all three had some beneficial effect on the stiffness of arteries but beer had the most benefits.
Researchers said the combination of alcohol and antioxidants in beer may be crucial to the drink's healthy effects.
Darker beers, like stouts and ales, have been shown to be better for the heart than lager.
The study was published in the journal Nutrition.