The Scientific Reason Why Beer Is Actually Kind Of Good For You

It’s taken years of research but they finally cracked it.

pints of beer
Pints A few beers Image Wikimedia

Next time someone suggests you cut back on the beer, maybe have a quiet word with them because, as it turns out, that this kind of boozing may actually be good for you.

Or at least that’s what scientists working in Germany, the beeriest country in the world, claim. According to their research, beer is actually of huge benefit to your mental health and works wonders at lifting your spirits.

The researchers from Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) reached their conclusion after analysing 13,000 different food components in an attempt to find the one most effective at stimulating the reward centre of the brain.

And unbelievably, beer topped the list with the presence of a food component called hordenine proving key. Most commonly found in malted barley and beer, it was found to do the best job of cheering the average individual up by stimulating that particular part of the brain.

It’s part of the reason why it’s so damn difficult to stop drinking, even when you know you’re drunk – a concept scientists call hedonic hunger, which is basically the drive to eat for pleasure rather than biological need.

Beer’s feel good factor is caused by something called dopamine. Tasty, calorific foods and beer tend to stimulate the area of the brain where the dopamine D2 receptor is found.

Research leader Professor Monika Pischetsrieder said: “It came as a bit of surprise that a substance in beer activates the dopamine D2 receptor, especially as we were not specifically looking at stimulant foodstuffs.”

Oktoberfest woman with beer

It’s all down to levels of dopamine in the brain. Beer and certain foods were found to stimulate the area of the brain where the dopamine D2 receptor is found.

Using a virtual screening system, researchers found hordenine was capable of stimulating the D2 receptor in the brain, albeit in a slightly different way to dopamine.

In fact, beer actually generates a more prolonged surge of good feelings, compared with standard dopamine.

Of course, beer should always be consumed in moderation and it’s important to keep some semblance of control on your drinking.

But, still, this is good news on some level, right?

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Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.