The hops in beer might make your brew a power drink. Oregon State University has published a preliminary study, finding that the hops in your favorite beer contains a substance that has powerful anti-cancer properties. Before you settle down to watch the game, consider your diet for a moment. No, this isn't another nag session trying to convince you to eat right . . .well, maybe it is.
Beer and Xanthohumol
If your favorite beverage comes with a head, you might be happy to discover that the hops in your ale may help fight cancer. The xanthohumol in hops has been shown to inhibit a group of enzymes that can initiate the cancer process. According to Ivanhoe, the science newswire, Xanthohumol can give an assist to your body in stopping the early stages of tumor growth.
The Power of Antioxidants in Beer
Because there are powerful antioxidants in xanthohumol, the sticky substance in hops, it may help the body deal with the breakdown of bad cholesterol. Containing antioxidants more powerful than vitamin E, this may be very good news.
Hops and Menopause
Hops also have phyto-estrogens, compounds that help reduce hot flashes and fight osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. These natural vegetable hormones, which occur in black cohosh, sage, and flax seed, among other plants and seeds, are becoming more popular in the treatment of postmenopausal symptoms in women, and hops is taking its place in the growing group of plants that are leading the fight.
Super Cancer Fighting Beer
Before you run out and buy a keg, German researchers who are developing a xanthohumol rich beer caution that it would take many commercially available beers to get the beneficial effects, but work is underway to increase the amount of xanthohumol in some beers in order to get its benefits without conspicuous consumption. Watch your grocery store shelves in the future for good-for-you beers and xanthohumol-enriched foods like chocolate. Oh, and if you like your beer dark, richer concentrations of xanthohumol occur naturally in dark beer.
If you are planning on jumping on the hops bandwagon, know that hops has been a popular brewing plant since before the ninth century, prized for its flavor and preservative qualities, and was used by the Romans as a spring vegetable. It was eaten much like asparagus is eaten today. If you are a gardener, hops makes a nice arbor plant, and the flowers harvested from the female plant can be used to make a relaxing sedative tea.