November 22, 2005
November 08, 2005
This oft-repeated sentiment of Homer Simpson is a mantra for the millions of beer drinkers in the United States. As popular as beer is, however, it often has gotten a bad rap as a calorie-loaded beverage that only serves to create paunchy beer bellies and alcohol-fueled lapses in judgment.
But that negative image may begin to fade: Research is showing that beer could join the ranks of other guilt-inducing but wildly popular foods chocolate, coffee and red wine as a possible disease-fighter.
It turns out that beer hops contain a unique micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes. Hops are plants used in beer to give it aroma, flavor and bitterness.
The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by researchers with Oregon State University 10 years ago. Initial testing was promising, and now an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.
Earlier this year, a German research journal even devoted an entire issue to xanthohumol, he said.
What Stevens and others are discovering is that xanthohumol has several unique effects. Along with inhibiting tumor growth and other enzymes that activate cancer cells, it also helps the body make unhealthy compounds more water-soluble, so they can be excreted.
I wonder if alcohol is one of the unhealthy compounds of which they speak? Then again, who cares?
Thanks to blogless friend Jeff for the link.
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