Here's some exciting new science that helps us hoppy-beer lovers justify our passions with healthy rationale.
According to a new study that found that hops protect against the build up of hepatic fat, a good ol' pale ale may improve our chances of keeping a healthy liver.
This may help to explain why folks who drink spirits tend to be more likely to develop liver disease than those who normally stick to the ambers. It suggests that beers with more hops are probably the healthiest. (Hop hop hooray! Sorry bout that. could.not.resist.)
The buildup of fat in the liver is one of the primary dangers of drinking alcohol, and often leads to fatty liver disease.
So researchers designed an experiment in which they fed mice either regular beer, beer without hops, or pure ethanol as an attempt to figure out which ingredients in beer affect the likelihood of developing such a condition.
Then twelve hours after feeding the mice their beers (lucky fellas), the team examined their livers.
They discovered that those that drank either ethanol or hop-less beer had similar amounts of fat in their livers, while those that had regular beer had much less fat.
Now, publishing their work in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, the team concludes that hops protect against the accumulation of liver fat, which they say partly explains why beer tends to bring about fewer negative health conditions than other alcoholic drinks.
Additionally, they discovered the livers of mice that drank regular beer suffered less damage as a result of a process called oxidative stress, which indicates that hops may also have an antioxidant effect.
Researchers aren't exactly sure how hops functions as the liver-protector it is. They did discover that levels of an enzyme called inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were lower in the beer-fed mice than those fed on either ethanol or beer without hops. They thus suspect that this enzyme may somehow mediate the positive effects of hops on the liver.
Seems imperial IPAs are not only a delicious, but a healthy choice. So says the internet! And #Science!