Beer lovers rejoice! A pint of your favorite beverage may have some health advantages, according to a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Researchers found that a compound from hops could protect brain cells from damage—and potentially slow the development of disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Hops are an essential part of the beer brewing process that comes from the flower of a hop plant.
The study showed that the compound “xanthohumol,” or “Xn,” which is found in beer, could help to protect brain cells from oxidative damage that is associated with dementia and other degenerative diseases.
But some doctors say the health benefits aren’t that clear and people shouldn’t be loading up on beer.
“Although the notion that an ingredient in beer can prevent Alzheimer’s disease or other neurodegenerative disorders is intriguing, the science does not yet support it,” says Dr. Aaron Malina, a neuropsychologist at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.
According to Dr. Malina. moderate drinking over many years can actually cause damage to the brain. Dementia is also associated with prolonged, heavy alcohol use. So for now, he recommends moderation when it comes to alcohol, including beer, wine or hard liquor.