Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Alcohol-free beer 'can cut high cholesterol'

"Alcohol-free beer can cut high levels of cholesterol, a new study which tested the drink's effects on nuns has shown. Scientists found that, after the alcohol was removed, the tipple had a number of health benefits. As well as reducing the potentially dangerous build up of fat in the arteries of those with high levels of cholesterol, the beer also increased the amount of antioxidants in drinkers' blood, which could help to protect the heart. The effect could be down to vitamins contained in the beer, including vitamin B6 which helps to dampen the effect of a chemical linked to an increase in the risk of heart disease. The study tested the effects of drinking moderate levels of alcohol-free beer on 29 nuns, aged between 58 and 73, who all lived together in the same convent. Over 45 days the women were all asked to drink 500 ml of the beer a day, on top of their normal eating and drinking habits. The scientists collected blood samples on the morning before the study started and again on the morning after it finished, to test the effects of the drink. The findings, published in the journal Nutrition, show that drinking the beer increased the levels of antioxidants in the women's blood. - Telegraph

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