A Cheer for Beer

Break out the bottle opener. Beer, that oft-berated libation, may be better for you than ever suspected. Recent research suggests that beer may be just as heart-healthy as red wine (Lancet, 2000, vol. 355, no. 1522).

Study participants drank four glasses of beer, red wine, Dutch gin or sparkling mineral water with dinner for three-week periods over a duration of 12 weeks. Scientists found that beer imbibing produced a 30 percent increase in B6 blood levels compared with red wine, which increased B6 levels by only 9 percent. Vitamin B6 helps break down homocysteine, the chemical associated with increased risk of heart disease, and the nutrient responsible for red wine's good-for-you reputation.

So the next time you're craving a brewskie on a hot summer afternoon, drink up with a clear conscience. Your heart may be as grateful as your taste buds.

—Jordana Gerson