Is beer good for you? It's all in the hops, researchers say

By Kate Burgess

Q13 FOX News reporter

SEATTLE -- We've all heard it can give drinkers a gut; now we're learning that beer can actually be good for folks.

University of Washington researchers found that hops -- the ingredient that gives beer its bitter taste -- could help treat serious health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.

UW research associate professor Werner Kaminsky said, "You can isolate these bitter compounds, concentrate them and then subscribe them in a form that may have health benefits."

By purifying acids from the beer, researchers found those bitter flowers could help treat diabetes, some forms of cancer, inflammation -- and even help people lose weight.

Hops aren’t bad for beer, either.

Phil O’Brien, manager of Hale’s Ales Brewery & Pub in Seattle, said, "The hops counterbalance the sweetness of the malted barley and lend an aromatic herbal quality to the nose and the aroma."

"I've long suspected that it's got to be beneficial to my health, because I always feel better when I drink it," O’Brien said.

But you'd have to drink about 100 pints to get the health benefits of those hops.

“We're talking about really high concentrations necessary," Kaminsky said.

Researchers figured out the exact molecular structure of hops acids during the brewing process while looking for new ingredients for drugs and medical treatments.

The other ingredients in that frosted mug can be beneficial, too. Because of the folate it contains, even a beer a day could help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduce blood clots and improve mental health in women.

Heavy drinking, of course, would not be good for a person’s health. That's why researchers are looking at using cooked hops extract in health supplements.