We recently had St. Patricks day here in London & many a pint was quaffed and traffic cones worn.

So Teeming Millions: Is there really lots of Iron in Guinness, is it as good for you as the adverts of yore professed?

Acccording to this site

… the doctors had some surprising ideas about the therapeutic benefits, including the notion that Guinness was useful in the treatment of iron deficiency. The iron content of Guinness is just under 0.5 mg/L, so the therapeutic dose would be about 800 pints a day!

Guinness ran an extremely successful and popular advertising campaign up to the '70s with the strapline “Guinness is good for you” I believe that it is still used in the far east.

Anyway It is good for you.

I knew a (Moslem - hahahah :slight_smile: ) Nigerian postgraduate student who had happy stories to tell about the wisdom of having a friend who somehow was in charge of suplies of Guinness kept in a hospital. The Guinness was there for the iron content (just as I am sure stout used to be given to some patients here in the U.K. many years ago).

So, in Nigeria, it was certainly seen as good and useful, at least a few years ago. But of course, some patients did not want the Guinness, being rather more observant Moslems than friend Abdulliyeh, so… it was, apparently, possible to , um, “relocate” some of these medical supplies to those who would apprecitate it. :slight_smile:

At the end of the day, Guinness is still just beer (although a very good beer) and is made like any other with barley, water, hops, and yeast. I doubt that the iron content of Guinness is any different from, say, Fullers London Pride.

[slight hijack] Between the wars one of my Welsh relatives was told to take stout for his broken neck (suffered down the mine). A way of killing the pain and preventing starvation rather than curing an iron deficit I suspect. At that time the family were strict Methodists and neither he nor his children were ever spoken to again. :frowning:

When I was in Nigeria in the 60’s Guiness ran a poster campaign with the words “Guiness Gives You Strength” and depicted a man with six children and a very happy looking wife. I think that it was hinting that Guiness possessed other “magic” powers.

Poor old Hawthorne-Ancestor! What a charitable and understanding lot these Christians are sometimes!

Oh how very very sad, though. Because I imagine that really messed up any social life, plus religious observance, plus work relationships and even made buying groceries rather troublesome and very uncomfortable. How foul.

oh, I wish I could edit, or had the sense to preview. I have just realised that Hawthorne’s relative’s experience was not an ancestor, but just between the wars. Sad.

More discussion and references on this site -

The Irish Blood Transfusion Board used to offer a free pint after a donation. Unfortunately they stopped the practice a long time ago. I suspect the real purpose was to persuade people to give donations, but they may have believed it was healthy when the practice first began.

The old advertising slogan “Guinness is good for you” was not completely inaccurate. I believe it is now established that a very limited amount of alcohol is good for you, protecting against heart disease and other ailments. The problems associated with alcohol derive from a higher level of use or from serious abuse.

It is probably healthier to buy an iron dietary supplement than to obtain iron through drinking large amounts of beer. However, you might feel better and have more fun if you had the beer. It’s your call.:wink:

I’ve just realised that Guinness must be good for you. After all, how many people in the world have recovered from Alzheimer’s Disease?

As far as I know, the only one is Ernest Saunders, chief executive of the Guinness company at the time of the company’s insider-dealing, sneaky and really rather naughty methods of ensuring it got its way in taking over the Distillers company in the late 1980s, leading to what I think is still the U.K.'s largest fraud trial.

Sentenced to prison for 5 years, he only served 10 months when his doctors claimed that he was suffering from dementia. Later, of course, he “recovered”. He was not returned to complete his sentence though.

So, there we have it - Guinness can be good for some people.

The downside is that it is a bit sad for those of us who would mostly prefer to avoid patronising unethical companies. Oops - another problem.:frowning:
(If I sound bitter, it’s bercause I used to work for their stockbroker at the time when they were all busily protesting their innocence. This led to quite a lot of practice, even more than usual, in keeping one’s opinions to oneself in the workplace while trying to get away from the place by any escape route possible! :slight_smile:

it’s used as an anaemia treatment for horses…have you ever seen a horse after the effects of 4 bottles of guinness and hot mash kick in? very funny.
yes, this was prescribed by a vet, yes, in ireland.

and they still give it to the auld fellas in the geriatric wards, it’s got enough carbohydrates and B vitamins to keep them going, for a bit, and a lot of them can’t take ( i.e. do not like and refuse to eat) solids or hospital food.

Another small point. In many old books you will find people drinking a light beer or watered wine with their meals and there was a belief that alcohol was good for you.

This was not myth, but based on scientific fact. In previous centuries, drinking water was often polluted and disease-ridden, particularly in towns and cities. Alcohol can kill germs in water, so people caught fewer diseases if they mixed alcohol into their water, or drank beer. Brewing was an important household skill.

Compared to polluted water, Guinness is indeed good for you.

Just a slight corection Balor, the reason that beer was safer than water is/was that it was boiled during the process. But the effect is the same.

I agree that boiling the water for beer probably was a major factor, which I had not thought of. A very good point to make. Most people drank beer in Northern Europe, rather than wine.

However, wine drinking was prevalent in lower latitudes. Alcohol is a disinfectant, and there is little doubt that it also had an effect in limiting disease. That is why we don’t catch horrible diseases when grapes are crushed by foot in the old-fashioned wine making process.

If you want beer with health benefits, you’ve got to make your own. The residual yeast present in homebrew is chock full of vitamins, especially B[sub]12[/sub] if I’m not mistaken.

When my wife was pregnant with our first child, it was decided her mother (who is 100% Chinese, as is my wife) would live with us for a month after the child was born to help out. Her parents live in New Zealand.

Anyway, I was talking to her mother on phone a few weeks before she was scheduled to arrive. At one point the conversation went like this:

[sub](Keep in mind my MIL is Chinese, and her English is very difficult to understand.)[/sub]

MIL: “Make sure you purchase Guinness for [my wife]. She need it after baby born.”

Me: “Buy some ginseng? I’m not sure if she’ll eat it.”

MIL: “No - Guinness. Get Guinness. It make good medicine for mother after baby born.”

Me: “Ginseng? I’ll get some.” (Trying to appease her…)

MIL: “Yes, get some Guinness.”
So I go out and buy some ginseng.

When her mother arrived, I showed her the ginseng.

MIL: “No no - Guinness, not ginseng!”

Me: “Guinness?! That’s a beer!”

MIL: “Yes. Get some Guinness. Good for woman who just deliver baby.”


So I go out and get a six pack of Guinness. Of course, my wife would [not] drink it.

But I did. (Mmmm, Guinness :)) Yep, I really needed some Guinness after the baby was born…:eek:

I once gave blood after having a few guinesses in a lunch time drinking session in Cardiff. Often wondered if the person receiving the blood appreciated the extra goodness he was getting.

The U.K. blood transfusion service used (up to perhaps 15 years ago or so) to have a similar policy, particularly on university campuses. The popular feeling at the time was that it was sheer bribery, though certainly preferable to tea and a biscuit.

More generally, it was disturbing going round the Guiness Brewery museum in Dublin about 10 years ago and realising from the posters on display that, while the “Guinness in good for you” slogan had been phased out in Britain and Ireland in the Sixties, it was still in use in the Third World through the Eighties.