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I don’t know about you, but I’ve never thought of drinking beer as a healthy habit.
But healthy? Not with the alcohol content, for sure.
However, the truth is that the bitter agent used to flavor beer — called hops — has been shown to offer some serious health benefits.
Now researchers say hops could have the power to beat back a condition that destroys the health of over one-third of Americans…
Hops’ secret power over metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions including abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low levels of “good” cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides.
If you can put a checkmark by two conditions on that list, you’re doctor may have already told you that you have metabolic syndrome — and that you face a higher risk of cognitive decline, ischemic stroke, heart trouble and blood sugar problems.
The good news: It’s reversible. Both the Mediterranean diet and aerobic interval training can beat it back to full remission. But that’s not always so easy, and luckily researchers have continued to look for less intensive ways to dial back the risk of metabolic syndrome.
That’s where hops come in…
Since hops have been shown to have an effect against some of those issues, researchers at Oregon State University, decided to pit one compound in hops that has shown promise in previous research — tetrahydroxanthohumol or TXN — against a mouse model of metabolic syndrome to see what it could do.
TXN is a powerful flavonoid in the family of polyphenol plant compounds. Other kinds of flavonoids are found in foods like berries, vegetables, chocolate and tea.
So what power does TXN have over metabolic syndrome?
It dramatically reduces the population of Oscillibacter in the gut microbiome (just one more hidden way the gut affects health in a major way). And Oscillibacter is an unhealthy bacteria that not only promotes inflammation in fatty tissue — it’s also a driver of metabolic syndrome.
When TXN blocks Oscillibacter, it significantly improves glucose metabolism. That means a lower risk of insulin resistance as well as weight gain that often goes hand in hand with metabolic syndrome. It also guards against its negative effects on the heart and brain.
Leveling up your flavonoid protection
Clearly, the compound found in beer can provide some powerful health benefits — but I would never recommend throwing back a couple of beers every day to keep metabolic syndrome at bay, even to reduce the two-fold increase for stroke.
However, hops are also a key ingredient in non-alcoholic beer and should pass on the same health benefits — without the downside of alcohol. Hops is also available in supplement form.
And those other sources of flavonoids I mentioned earlier have some clout when it comes to metabolic syndrome.
TXN may be unique to hops, but other classes of flavonoids support metabolic and cardiovascular health, vascular function and glycemic control.
Berries are my favorite source of one particularly powerful group of flavonoids known as anthocyanins. Take the Aronia berry. It’s brimming with enzymes that slow the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream after eating. That makes it especially valuable in the battle against metabolic syndrome.
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Metabolic Syndrome — Mayo Clinic
The healthy hops habit that blasts fat — Easy Health Options
One more reason to use hops for menopause relief — Easy Health Options
8+ ways an ingredient in beer can boost your health and fight cancer — Easy Health Options
Hops compound may fight fatty liver — Easy Health Options