Beer is the world’s most widely consumed and probably the oldest of alcoholic beverages; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea.
What is beer? Simply put, beer is a fermented, hop flavored, malt sugared, liquid. The basic ingredients of beer are water, malt, hops, and yeast. The main active ingredient of beer is alcohol, and therefore, the health effects of alcohol apply to beer.
Besides, beer may contain carcinogenic nitrosamines, which explains its relationship with certain types of cancer. Nitrosamines generated during malt production will pass into beer. Their concentration in malt depends on the type of the drying technique. The main compound that is monitored in malt and beer is nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). A study in University of Tartu has demonstrated that NDMA concentration depends on alcohol content of beer. The highest NDMA concentration was observed in alcohol-free beer. Stronger beers tend to contain lower level of NDMA than beers with lower alcohol content. In the dark beer the level of NDMA is higher than in light beer with the same percent of alcohol. The analytical method on which the determination is based has been published as an article in journal Food Chemistry. At the same time beer contains a powerful molecule that helps protect against breast and prostate cancers. Found in hops, the substance called xanthohumol and is classified as a flavonoid, an antioxidant that has anti-cancer properties. The researchers found that xanthohumol is six times more powerful an anti-oxidant than those found in citrus fruits, and four times stronger than those in soy foods. Hops give beer its bitter flavour, so traditional bitters and ales will contain far more of this substance than light lagers. Unfortunately, drinking beer cannot be considered a method of cancer prevention. Most beers have low levels of xanthohumol, and its absorption in the body is also limited (Image: Wikipedia).

One Response

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