The surprising health benefits of Guinness

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For some, St Patrick's Day is the only day of the year you'll find yourself supping on a beautiful, creamy pint of Guinness.

For others, the celebration of the patron saint of Ireland is merely an excuse to indluge themselves in more of their favourite drink.

Either way drinkers of the dark beverage will likely be battling a colossal hangover on March 18.

Thankfully - and surprisingly - there are handful of health benefits to be had from drinking the black stuff, including; improved heart health and stronger bones.

Good for the heart

The famous stout contains antioxidants, known as flavonids, commonly found in fruit and vegetables.

These can reduce levels of cholesterol and help reduce blood clots and heart attacks as a result.

Guinness contains antioxidants, known as flavonids, commonly found in fruit and vegetables (Photo: Shutterstock)

Rich in calcium

Drink in moderation

While there are some benefits to be had from drinking the black stuff, it is important to consume in moderation and avoid drinking more than 14 units of alcohol on a regular basis. Guinness. Guinness ambassador Domhnall Marnell stated to CNN: "We would never recommend that anyone drink to excess, and (we want to make people) aware of how alcohol effects the body."

One percent of a pint of Guinness is made up of calcium - this is due to the presence of the plant hormone phytoestrogen.

According to a study by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, beer drinkers typically had greater bone density than fellow drinkers. The NHS, however, have been quick to highlight the negative impact on bone density from drinking too much alcohol, so try not to get too carried away this St Patrick's Day.

High iron content

A pint of Guinness contains roughly 0.3 milligrams of iron - around three percent of the recommended intake for men and two percent for women.

Iron is high in haemoglobin which helps to transport oxygen via red blood cells. In years gone by Guinness was provided to patients recovering from surgery for this very reason.

High in fibre

Due to the use of unmalted barley, rather than malted, Guinness is higher in fibre than most beers.

A high fibre diet can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and can reduce blood pressure and inflammation.

A pint of Guinness contains 0.3 milligrams of iron(Photo: Shutterstock)

Relatively low in calories

Though a pint of Guinness still contains a fairly hefty 210 calories per pint, this is less than fellow beers.

A pint of Heineken for instance contains 255 calories, while a pint of ale or stout, typically contains in excess of 250 calories.