Move over, wine -- beer protects the heart, too!

Nothing but nothing feels better than a cold beer on a hot day -- and no part of your body appreciates the suds more than your ticker. Beer can help relax the arteries and reduce stiffness within just two hours of knocking back a pint, according to one new study. And if that's not enough, it also helps make sure blood flows to your heart like... well... beer at a summer party. The study also looked at the effects of alcohol-free beer and vodka -- and while both of them also offered some improvements, neither matched the benefits of real beer, according to the Greek study published in Nutrition Journal. That's good news for beer snobs -- but let me REALLY turn this into Happy Hour, because that's not all a cold brew can do for you. Other studies have shown that beer can slash the risk of heart attack and stroke by nearly a third. Beer -- especially hoppy beer -- is the best natural source of dietary silicon, which can help improve bone strength and protect against osteoporosis. Beer has also been shown to help protect the brain, control the waistline (yes, the "beer belly" is a myth) and even keep colds at bay... so never feel guilty about raising a pint of your favorite. But if you prefer wine, gin and tonic or a whisky on the rocks, there's no need to rethink your drink -- because just about any form of alcohol can pack enough benefits to stock a bar. Drinkers in general have healthier hearts, a lower risk of dementia and even live longer, too. The key isn't what you drink -- it's how much you drink. Keep it to a moderate habit of a drink or two a day, and you'll enjoy all the benefits of booze... and none of the risks. With a toast to you, William Campbell Douglass II, M.D. Source: Daily Dose with William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

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