Hops… our friend after all! Craft beer aficionados are well aware of the pleasing aromatic and bittering qualities that hops impart to beer, and for centuries hops have been thought of as a “tonic” and aid to good health. Science is learning that this is true, and researchers have singled out a specific chemical compound present in hops that has wide reaching health benefits.
Scientists have found that an aromatic ketone known as Xanthohumol, which is found in hops, “might be a potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.” A report on this from 2015 can be found at PubMed.
Earlier studies have shown that Xanthohumal also displays anticarcinogenic properties, and may inhibit, delay, or reverse development of some cancers. A 2002 study abstract, Cancer chemopreventive activity of Xanthohumol can also be found at PubMed. Along with an abstract from 2004 titled Xanthohumol and related prenylflavonoids from hops and beer: to your good health!
While drinking beer in moderation may help in some ways, to reap the full health benefits of Xantholuhumol a concentration would be made into pill form to be taken as a supplement. Don’t go overboard drinking, but rest assured science is on the job. With each sip you can raise a toast to science and the real health benefits of hops.
For some great information on the history of hops use, both as a healthy herb for it’s medicinal qualities as well as in beer brewing, I highly recommend The Short and Bitter History of Hops, a piece by David Martorana found at Philly Beer Scene.
If you’re interested in the subject of beer and health, a good book to add to your library is Beer in Health and Disease Prevention, which is a huge tome of information regarding the health advantages of beer, and as they put it, rights “the bias toward wine as the only healthy alcoholic beverage.” So give that a look if you’re interested in growing you knowledge of beer, hops and health.
If the price of that reference makes you drop your beer and you’d like something more in-budget, check out To Your Health! by Carol A Westbrook (MD, PhD). It is a lot more affordable and has some great information as well.
Here’s to good beer and life! Stay tuned to Cryptobrewology, we’re gearing up for our summer of Road Trips and Brew Pubs, which we kick off this weekend in Bucks County, PA!