All the latest nutrition news that you didn’t know you needed
You’ve heard of the gut-brain axis. But have you heard of the gut-beer axis?
It really is a thing. And why not, when all things fermented are today’s essential components of every food fashionista’s diet. From kombucha to kimchi, yogurt to sauerkraut, fermentation enhances the friendly bacteria population of the gut. That puts beer at the top of the superfoods chain: you can virtually watch it fermenting as it fizzes in your glass.
An article published in July’s Frontiers in Nutrition is an unashamed eulogy to beer. This mini review of the research catalogues the impressive nutrients found in this ancient beverage: many amino acids (though not clear which), trace elements, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, iron, and polyphenols and flavonoids. And when the whole shooting match is metabolised and consumed, its benefits include anti-inflammatory, pro-immunity, anti-cancer, anti-coagulant, and antioxidant activity.
As the article progresses, so too does the authors’ confidence in their subject matter, boldly stating that “Moderate consumption of beer helps in preventing arteriosclerosis and heart disease, inhibits cancer, and improves blood circulation and immune function. Beer has also been shown to have antioxidant and anti-aging effects, promote estrogen production, reduce radiation damage, and help prevent cardiovascular events.”
I know of nothing that can equal that. Beer’s healing properties border on the divine.
But back to beer guts. This, we learn, is how it works: when beer is fermented, the gut microbiome gets to work and creates metabolites that favour the growth of beneficial bacteria, “creating a virtuous cycle”.
If all that sounds too good to be true, and I did smell a beer mat, that’s because after scrolling down to the end of the article — a good habit to get into when reading any paper that promotes a particular food or drink — I discovered that funding for the study came from something called the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Biological Fermentation Engineering of Beer, and that two of the authors of the study were employees of Tsingtao Brewery Co. Ltd.