Are you a beer drinker? Tired of your uppity wine drinking friends hogging all the glory? Well, there’s some good news for those of us who love beer!
A new review paper, called “The Nutritional Components of Beer and Its Relationship with Neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s Disease” published in the journal “Nutrients”, looked at the potential role moderate levels of beer drinking plays in preventing cognitive decline in our later years. (Moderate means ~1-2 drinks per day)
It’s been known for some time that light to moderate drinkers tend to have better brain health and function in their older years, compared to those who drink heavily or not at all.
Beer is full of antioxidants which seem to help in several ways. Here are just a few:
Drinking beer helps to prevent the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. Autopsies performed on 125 men who all died of sudden causes, showed that those who were moderate drinkers of beer had less plaque in their brain. While some recent research seems to show that beta-amyloid plaques don’t play the role scientists have previously thought, most
The alcohol itself seems to help with preserving the brain’s memory centers. Moderate drinkers had a bigger hippocampus, while light drinkers had improved episodic memory.
Hops contain many plant-based chemicals called polyphenols which suppress inflammation in the brain and improve cognition. Hops are also a source of resveratrol! Resveratrol can help increase insulin sensitivity, protect against heart disease and can help increase testosterone and control estrogen in men.
Whole grains like barley and wheat are high in silicon, which also acts as an antioxidant in the brain, perhaps most interestingly by blocking the action of aluminum in the brain. Aluminum is a highly toxic substance. The silicic and orthosilicic acids in beer reduce the bioavailability of aluminum (meaning we absorb less) and increase the amounts of aluminum excreted from our bodies. Win/win!
While most people know melatonin as the hormone that helps you sleep, it also acts as an antioxidant, and you guessed it; beer is a great source of melatonin as well.
If you’re on a low carb diet, or maybe you’re pregnant and can’t drink regular beer, there’s still great news for us! The researchers looked at non-alcoholic beer as well and found that NA beer was also effective!
When it comes to non-alcoholic beers, I’m a HUGE fan of the new Heineken 0.0!