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The Effects of Malt Beverages on Blood Pressure

author image Caroline Thompson
Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.
The Effects of Malt Beverages on Blood Pressure
Drinking beer in moderation may have positive health effects. Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images

A malt beverage is an alcoholic or nonalcoholic fermented beverage made from barley. Malt beverages include beer, ale, stout and porter. Having a frosty glass of beer on a hot day may cool you down, but it can also raise your blood pressure. In contrast, men with hypertension also have shown positive effects from drinking beer in moderation.

Elevated Blood Pressure

Drinking beer causes an increase in blood pressure, according to the Dr. Sheldon G. Sheps, hypertension specialist with the Mayo Clinic. This short-term effect is temporary for moderate drinkers. Binge drinking or drinking more than three beers daily can lead to long-term increases in your blood pressure. This effect is true for malt beverages or any alcoholic drinks. Beer has calories and can cause weight gain, which is another risk factor for high blood pressure. A study by R.R. Zilkens, published in the May 2005 issue of "Hypertension," tested blood-pressure levels in healthy men with normal blood pressure before and after drinking beer. They noted elevated blood pressure levels after the men drank the beer. This was a temporary effect and was also true for men who drank wine.

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Positive Effects on Hypertension

Science can sometimes seem contradictory. Allison Van Dusen noted in "Forbes," in March 2008, that men with high blood pressure, had a lower risk of fatal and nonfatal heart attacks if they drank moderately. This is partly because drinking beer, or any alcoholic beverage, in moderation raises high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, also known as the good cholesterol.

Overall Health Benefits

Drinking malt beverages in moderation can have an overall health benefit. While binge or heavy drinking does not have beneficial effects on blood pressure or overall health, drinking beer in moderation can have various benefits. Moderate beer drinking helps reduce the risk of heart disease, digestive ailments, stress, depression and may even help you to live longer, according to David J. Hanson, Ph.D., of New York State University at Potsdam. But as a precaution, it is not recommended that you start drinking if you do not already drink alcohol.

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