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Beer; Medicinal Effects

These are nearly all adverse. In its favour beer being a relatively low alcohol drink (3 to 8 per cent alcohol) it helps the body relax if taken in moderation; and sensible cosumption seems to raise the level of the 'good' HDL cholesterol and helps prevent blockages in the heart arteries of healthy people. Several studies have suggested that light beer drinkers have less heart disease than heavy drinkers.

However, cobalt, added to most beer to preserve its foam was shown to contribute to heart disease in heavy beer drinkers. Heavy beer drinkers should also remember that beer is also high in purines, digestive byproducts that convert to uric acid, the buildup of which can bring on or worsen gout. Heavy beer drinking was also found to increase the risk of rectal and lung cancer in men, and breast cancer in women. Higher alcohol consumption may also lead to cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, varicose veins and haemorrhoids, heart irregularities, coronary thrombosis and foetal defects. See 'Beer'; 'Basic Modern Types'; 'Beer, Medicinal Effects'

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