Back in the 1920s the advertising slogan ‘Guinness is good for you’ was used to sell one of Ireland’s best loved products.
The company was ordered to stop using it as there was little evidence to back up the claim at the time.
However, scientists now believe that drinking a pint a day of the black stuff could help to prevent the risks of heart attacks.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin gave dogs a small amount of Guinness. The dogs they used for testing had narrow arteries, similar to those related to heart disease.
The Guinness reduced the clotting in the dogs’ blood. They also gave lager to dogs with narrow arteries but found that it didn’t have the same positive effect as Guinness.
It is important to prevent clotting in the arteries. If the clot occurs in an artery that supplies the heart it could trigger a cardiac arrest.
Many people are given aspirin to prevent clotting in the arteries. The researchers in Wisconsin found that Guinness worked as well as a low dose of aspirin.
The optimum amount of Guinness, to provide the most benefit, was 24 fluid ounces – just over a pint. It is best to consume the Guinness with a meal.
The researchers say that Guinness has similar antioxidant compounds to those found in fruits and vegetables. This helps to slow down the deposit of harmful cholesterol.
In the 1920s, people in England would drink Guinness after giving blood. They believed it was beneficial due to the iron content. Pregnant women were also advised to drink Guinness, although the advice today is completely the opposite.
Doctors say that pregnant women would be better off eating an egg or a bowl of Weetabix in order to contribute to their daily iron recommendations.
It would take three pints of Guinness to provide the same amount of iron as a single egg yolk. It would take as many as 15 pints to provide as much iron as two Weetabix. The alcohol would obviously not be good for the unborn baby – or the mother for that matter.
Guinness manufacturers Diageo have said that they don’t advertise their product as having health benefits, but instead prefer to encourage responsible drinking.
Anyone considering drinking Guinness for health purposes should first seek medical advice as better alternatives are likely to be available.