Raise a Pint: Scientists Say Beer Has Essential Cancer-Fighting Agents

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German researchers have discovered that hops, the main ingredient in beer, contain essential cancer-fighting agents, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Preliminary studies indicate xanthohumol, a compound found in hops, inhibits a family of enzymes which trigger cancer, as well as help the body detoxify carcinogens.

"It's very healthy," said Dr. Werner Back, a brewing technology expert at the Technical University of Munich. "I think the ingredients in the beer are very good."

Xanthohumol contains more powerful antioxidants than vitamin E and some studies indicate it helps reduce oxidation of bad cholesterol.

"Xanthohumol has been shown to be a very active substance against cancer," said Dr. Markus Herrmann, also of Munich. "It comes in small sticky beads, which you find within the hops."

But, don't start chugging down those beers just yet.

Researchers warn that it would take 60 regular beers to equal the amount of xanthohumol they were able to brew in one beer.

That's why scientists are now working on ways to give all beers higher levels of xanthohumol, and even find ways to add it to other foods, like chocolate.