Vitality

'Guinness Is Good For You' On St. Patrick's Day: 6 Surprising Nutrition Facts About Drinking The Irish Beer

This year, St. Patrick's Day celebrations will be filled with Irish soda bread, corn beef, and most notably, Guinness. Drinking Guinness regularly, or only on St. Patty's Day, can actually be "good for you," as per the brand's old slogan. The Irish beer has an impressive nutritional profile that will make you feel guilt-free for indulging in one, or two pints.

Despite its old ad slogan, Diageo, the manufacturer, does not make any health claims for Guinness. Yet, previous research has shown it could be good for your overall health, in moderation. Jamie Logie, a personal trainer, nutritionist, and health and wellness specialist who runs regainedwellness.com and the Regained Wellness Podcast helps put things into perspective.

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"Guinness in a 12 oz pint only contains 125 calories. The same serving of bud light has only 15 calories less. Guinness also only has 5 calories more than the same amount of skim milk," he told Medical Daily.

Aside from being one of the few low-calorie beers, Guinness has other nutrition facts that may surprise beer enthusiasts.

Light Beer

One of the biggest misconceptions is that Guinness is a heavy beer, or as some may some, comparable to a milkshake. 

"I think it's because of the dark color of Guinness (it's actually not black but a ruby color)," said Logie, also a licensed bartender who has worked at bars in central London, England.

Guinness is not carbonated as a regular lager, making it a bit smoother. This makes people find it to be more filling compared to the lightness that can accompany carbonation, according to Logie. A regular lager uses CO2 to dispense it, and Guinness uses more nitrogen, which can also make it feel heavier. Nitrogen, and the way Guinness is dispensed, results in the cascade effect where bubbles flow downward and settle, compared to lagers where they rise up.

Calcium

A pint of Guinness contains one percent calcium. Typically, beer is rich in calcium, which could boost bone health. A 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found moderate beer consumption can help promote bone mineral density, which is a major risk factor for osteoporosis. The researchers believe the silicon in beer also contributes to higher bone mineral density.

Guinness These six nutrition facts about Guinness will make you feel less guilty about drinking the beer on St. Patrick's Day. Photo courtesy of Pixabay, Public Domain

Vitamin B

A pint of Guinness contains a whole variety of nutrients, including all the B vitamins, except B12. Riboflavin (B2) increases during the malting and brewing processes, which leads to significant amounts present in beer, according an article in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing. Meanwhile, nicotinic acid (niacin, B3) tends to fluctuate through the malting and brewing process, but it still yields significant amounts.

Iron

A pint of Guinness has 0.3 milligrams of iron, or about three percent of an adult's recommended daily value. Drinking three pints of the beer will give you the same amount of iron as a single egg yolk, or 1.1 mg.

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Flavonoids

Guinness is loaded with flavonoids, which are antioxidants that give fruits and vegetables their dark color. A 2003 study conducted at the University of Wisconsin found flavonoids in beer can reduce the risk of heart attack from blood clotting. The researchers performed laboratory tests on dogs with clogged arteries by comparing the effects of Guinness and Heineken. However, only those who drank Guinness experienced reduced clotting.

High In Barley

Guinness begins with barley. The stout is made from water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer's yeast. The beer gets its dark color and distinctive taste from roasted barley, which is pasteurized and filtered.

Jennifer Bowers, a registered dietitian and owner of DrJennBowersNutrition.com, credits Guinness' high nutrition profile to barley's antioxidant, ferulic acid.

"Studies demonstrate that ferulic acid is associated with improved immune function and decreased inflammation. Research is ongoing to determine preventative ferulic acid effects on cardiovascular disease and cancer," Bowers told Medical Daily.

Guinness and other darker beers contain higher amounts of this antioxidant than lighter beers.

See Also:

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