JUST one pint of beer is enough to improve the condition of major blood vessels around the heart, according to a new study.
Arteries became more flexible and blood flow improves within a couple of hours of drinking the equivalent of two-thirds of a pint, say scientists.
But alcohol-free beer did not have the same powerful effect.
The findings, by researchers in Greece, support previous evidence that moderate beer consumption may protect against heart disease.
Some evidence already suggests a pint a day may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by up to 30 per cent.
But this is believed to be one of the first studies to look at what actually happens to the cardiovascular system immediately after a pint is downed.
Scientists at Harokopio University in Athens recruited 17 non-smoking men in their late twenties and early thirties. Each had their cardio-vascular health measured within an hour or two of drinking 400mls of beer – just over two-thirds of a pint.
They later underwent the same tests after drinking 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 – and aortic stiffness, a check which assesses whether blood vessels are nice and relaxed or beginning to harden.
The results, published online in the journal Nutrition, showed all three drinks had some beneficial effect on the stiffness of arteries, but beer had the greatest.
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