Excessive drinking can lead to numerous health issues and one of the most well-documented is liver damage. This is typically the case with alcohol abuse however, and emerging studies are beginning to suggest that light to moderate drinking can actually have some benefits that can improve a host of functions within the body. The main focus of studies on the liver is beer, so let’s take a look at what beer is best for your liver.
Beer, research and the liver
The first thing to understand is that studies are not being undertaken on humans, but are being used to gain a better insight into how specific alcohols are having an effect on internal organs like the liver. In the case of beer, the alcohol content will still have a negative effect, but this could potentially be significantly less than the alternative of straight alcohol, not to mention the added impact of mixers that can introduce elements like a higher calorie intake and sugars into otherwise more conscious diets.
In short, beer can be a safer option for liver damage as it is lower in strength than other alcoholic drinks and doesn’t need potentially harmful flavourings (like pre-mixed fruit juices and sodas) to make it more palatable.
The best types of beer for liver function
Right now, one of the ingredients making beer a healthier choice is hops – and it’s this flower that is fuelling the belief that beer can be a good solution for drinkers worldwide.
Beer was once made with wort and brewing utilised a host of herbs and spices to create the flavour profiles that made beer so popular. In recent years however, hops flowers have come into the fray as an all-in-one alternative – and more and more breweries have been making the switch. As a natural ingredient, hops have their own advantages when consumed (the main one being antibiotic properties) and this is where research is starting to find a foothold.
This means that the best beer for liver is going to be those with high hop content, such as:
- Classic bitters
- Pale ales
What we can see from this is that it may be better to opt for craft beers over traditional lagers when you have the health of your liver in mind.
The potential of hops
The findings from preliminary research suggest that hops can minimise the build-up of fats associated with alcohol consumption, which has a contributing effect on liver damage. There’s even the possibility that compounds within this flower may also provide an influx of protective antioxidants that could improve cell regeneration. As cell damage is the biggest cause of liver disease, this could be an extremely important discovery indeed.
There is the consideration that while results are proving positive in mice, they might not translate so well to human biology. When you couple this with the fact that liver disease is lower in individuals that drink beer over spirits, you could make the link that beer isn’t typically as heavily consumed and could be providing skewed statistics.