Do indulge in that Bell’s Two Hearted or Founders Porter today at happy hour: Scientists in China have found that a compound in hops could protect brain cells from oxidative damage—and slow the development of degenerative brain diseases.

A team of researchers at Lanzhou University published the study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry; it claims that people who regularly drink beer might be better able to ward off the progression of neurological diseases.

The research suggests that xanthohumol (Xn), a type of flavonoid found in hops, could help protect the brain against the onset of diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, roughly five million Americans suffer from the disease, so this is not only huge for beer drinkers, but for everyone.

Dr. Jiangou Fang of Lanzhou University tells The Daily Mail,

“In traditional Chinese medicine, hops have been used to treat a variety of ailments for centuries. The presence of a high concentration of Xn in beers might be linked to the epidemiological observation of the beneficial effect of regular beer drinking.” 

Previous studies have shown moderate (not binge!) drinking to be beneficial to a person’s memory. One study from last year found people who drank moderately had larger hippocampuses and better episodic memory.

So, according to science, you should keep drinking red wine to keep your heart healthycoffee to prevent skin cancer, and beer to keep your brain from degenerating. Cheers.

[via ACS, Medical Daily]

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