We understand that having a “beer gut” may not wear well on the beach, but a new study revealed that a beer a day, whether alcoholic or not, might provide a healthy gut check.
The study, which was first published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that men who drank one lager each day had a more diverse colony of healthy gut microbes, compared to measurements taken before their daily beer regimen.
Previous bacteria studies have shown that a more robust gut microbiome (the bacteria, viruses and fungi that live there) leads to a lowered risk of developing chronic issues, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Humans are packed with trillions of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract alone, which serves many biological functions, including immune defense, according to the Sun.
“Results from this study show that drinking beer increases gut bacterial diversity without significantly changing body weight,” said lead author Ana Faria, professor at Nova University in Lisbon, Portugal.
Faria’s team enlisted 19 men, ages 23 to 58, all of them regular drinkers with no serious health concerns, and had them consume one 330-milliliter bottle of 5% ABV Super Bock, a Portuguese European-style pale lager or a non-alcoholic alternative beer each day.
Too much beer can potentially wreak havoc on the gut, but the researchers were surprised to find that both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic brews proved beneficial when consumed in moderate amounts daily.
“The researchers suggest that the fermentation process in beer making — which produces microorganisms of its own — as well as the presence of micronutrients like polyphenols, could be the catalyst behind the male participants’ blooming gut health,’ according to the New York Post.
“Beer is the main and probably only source of hop polyphenols in the human diet,” said Faria. “Hops also contain xanthohumol, which studies suggest lowers the risk of chronic diseases including obesity and diabetes.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adult men consume fewer than two alcoholic drinks per day and for women, half that.
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