With summer fast approaching, the prospect of lounging on the terrace accompanied by a cold beer can seem enticing. What if we told you that opting for a lager would also contribute to your intestinal health? This was demonstrated by a research team from the New University of Lisbon, reports Interesting Engineering.
According to the conclusions of his study published on June 15, 2022 in the ACS Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, lager – that is to say a bottom-fermented beer, mostly lagers – can participate in bacterial diversity in within the intestines. This set of microorganisms, also known as microbiota, is a subject that has been attracting the attention of the scientific community for several years now.
The microbiota and the billions of bacteria that make it up could indeed protect us from certain diseases, even if it is important to take this statement with a grain of salt until it is scientifically established, said researcher Christine Durif-Bruckert in 2018. Some go so far as to speak of a possible influence on aging or even on mental health, hence the nickname of the digestive system: the second brain.
The virtues of polyphenols
But back to our binouze. In this new study dated June 15, twenty-two men were asked to drink 33 cL of beer daily with or without alcohol, for four weeks. They were also asked not to change their eating habits during this period.
Blood and fecal samples were taken before and after. During the comparison, the scientists noticed that the participants presented “an increase in the bacterial diversity of the intestine”. Alkaline phosphatase levels, “a marker of intestinal health”, were also checked. Again, an improvement was seen.
Importantly, the results were similar in the two groups of men, whether they drank beer with or without alcohol. This suggests that the beneficial effects of the beverage on the microbiota are independent of whether it is alcoholic or not. For scientists, this could have a link with polyphenols, molecules with multiple virtues found in many fruits and vegetables.
What about women? Although they were not included in this study, previous work that included individuals of both sexes had already shown that the consumption of alcohol-free beer for thirty days improved the diversity of the microbiota.
Be careful, however: given the dangers of heavy alcohol consumption, the research team recommends preferring alcohol-free lagers. That’s good: this market is booming.