Study: Why 1 beer a day is good for you
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world.
By Mark Waghorn via SWNS
A daily glass of lager is good for the gut, according to new research.
It boosts healthy bacteria that fend off diseases and infections, say scientists.
The benefits come from polyphenols - plant compounds found in hops, barley and yeast.
Lead author Professor Ana Faria, of NOVA University in Lisbon, Portugal, said: "Men who drank either one alcoholic or non-alcoholic lager daily had a more diverse set of gut microbes."
The trillions of bugs help fight off a host of life-threatening conditions. Keeping the right balance reduces the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart problems, cancer and dementia.
Prof Faria explained: "When more types of bacteria are present, people tend to have a lower chance of developing chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.
"And beer contains compounds, such as polyphenols, as well as microorganisms from its fermentation, that could impact the variety of microbes in the human gut."
In the study 19 Portuguese participants, aged 23 to 58, were randomly split - consuming just over half a pint of alcoholic or non-alcoholic lager with dinner.
After just four weeks analysis of blood and poop samples identified improvements in intestinal health - for both groups.
There was no change in the volunteers' weight, BMI (body mass index) and blood markers for heart health during the period.
Prof Faria said: "Consuming one bottle of beer, regardless of its alcohol content, may be beneficial to the gut microbiome and intestinal health of men."
But nonalcoholic varieties may be the most healthful choice as drinking is not to be recommended.
Prof Faria said: "These results suggest the effects of beer on gut microbiota modulation are independent of alcohol and may be mediated by beer polyphenols."
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in the world. Moderate intake has been found to be protective against cardiovascular disease in a similar way to wine.
It is the only source of hop polyphenols in the human diet. They are responsible for the aroma and bitterness of ale.
Prof Faria said: "Beer polyphenols might reach the gut where they can modulate bacterial growth. In addition, some beers may contain live fermentation microorganisms."
She added: "The Flemish Gut Flora Project, one of the largest population-wide studies to assess the variation of gut microbiota among healthy individuals, has shown beer consumption is a key influence on the overall microbiota composition.
"Therefore, given the importance of the gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, gut microbiota modulation might constitute another mechanism mediating the effects of beer on health."
The findings are in ACS' Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
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