Beer lovers may finally have a case for their preferred beverage—it's good for the brain.
The good brew news revolves around a compound found in hops, a central ingredient in beer that gives it its bitter taste.
Chinese researchers recently tested the compound, called xanthohumol, to see if it could protect brain cells against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is a bodily process that is associated with the development of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases and some types of cancer.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, produced sobering results. Xanthohumol prevented the brain cells from dying and also increased cell production of several antioxidants that counteracted oxidative damage.
Scientists even said xanthohumol could be a “potential candidate for the prevention of neurodegenerative disorders.” It's music to the ears of those craving an India pale ale.
Although craft brewers are raising a cold one in honor of the research, Outliers suggests you stay away from keg stands and all-night beer pong in the name of fighting Alzheimer's. The science is still far from settled on the health benefits of hops. And like most drinking habits, moderation is best.