Is Guinness good for you?

A drop or two of Guinness is a great way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day, but should you be refuelling with it after your next run? We take a look at the nutritional benefits of a pint of the black stuff…

The good news

A study by the University of Wisconsin found that drinking Guinness can reduce blood clots and the risk of heart attack. Guinness contains antioxidants like those found in red wine and dark chocolate, which are not found in other beers. These antioxidants help the body to deal with free radicals, which can cause cell damage.

A University of California study found that Guinness contained the most folate of the imported beers analysed. Folate is a B vitamin that plays an important part in the production of red blood cells – which carry oxygen around the body – and in the conversion of carbohydrate into energy – all useful when you’re putting in the training miles.

Guinness is also relatively low in calories compared to some beers, making it a better option than most pint-size drinks if you’re planning to indulge in a glass while trying to watch your waistline.

The soluble fibre in a pint of Guinness can help to reduce bad cholesterol by binding to it, which helps your body to excrete it rather than absorb it. The beer also contains prebiotics, which promote the growth of 'good' bacteria in your gut.

The bad news

Guinness contains just 1.9g of protein per pint, so it has a negligible effect on repairing damaged muscles. A hefty 67 per cent of its calories come from alcohol and its famed iron content is a myth: a pint contains just three per cent of your recommended daily amount.

The verdict

If you must drink alcohol immediately after exercise – and goodness knows we’ve all been there – Guinness, in moderation, isn’t the worst shout.

Work it off

Running for 15 minutes will burn off a pint – but best not do it straight away.