How Beer Can Help Combat Disease and Even Obesity

New beer research has uncovered some surprising scientific findings.

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The holiday season brings on an avalanche of food and drink and no one complains–until they step on the scale in January. But fear not: New research shows that certain kinds of beer consumed in moderation might just help fight major diseases as well as obesity. 

Yes, beer. But don’t start loading up on your favorite brews just yet, there’s a catch.

Beer is great.

A report in the Telegraph (free registration required) gives some more details:

Research has found that some tipples are bursting with probiotic microbes – or bacteria and yeast credited with a host of health benefits, from combating obesity to getting a better night’s sleep.

Examples include strong Belgian beers Hoegaarden, Westmalle Tripel and Echt Kriekenbier, which are rich in probiotic yeast.

Unlike most beers, these brands are fermented twice – once in the brewery and again in the bottle.

According to researchers, the in-bottle fermentation process comes from using something other than typical brewer’s yeast. That yeast “doesn’t just convert the sugar in the grain into alcohol,” reports the Telegraph, it makes a form of acid that kills bacteria which could make you sick.

The paper quoted Amsterdam University gut bacteria expert Professor Eric Claassen, who explained that this double fermentation makes for “a stronger beer that is very, very healthy.”

Don’t tank up on imported Belgian suds yet, though. Claassen isn’t trying to get people to swill beer with every meal. “Those of us who advocate good health know it’s very difficult for people to stop at one” beer, he tells the Telegraph, and he says that in“high concentrations, alcohol is bad for the gut.” 

Here’s why probiotics are so good for you: they’re not killing bacteria that could cause the stomach flu or something so simple–they’ve been linked to killing bacteria that can lead to illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and bowel cancer.

And yes, multiple sources indicate that some probiotics help inhibit absorbing fat, which means your body is cutting calories from your food intake during the digestive process.

Again, though, the key is moderation. Drinking too much alcohol in any form can cause an entirely different set of health issues. 

As Professor Claassen concludes, “if you drink just one of these [probiotic rich] beers every day it would be very good for you.”