Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Beer and Coffee (for men)

Yesterday results of a study were released which touted some healthy benefits - especially for men - of hops.

PORTLAND, Ore. - For many men, a finding by Oregon researchers sounds too good to be true: an ingredient in beer seems to help prevent prostate cancer, at least in lab experiments.

The trouble is you'd theoretically have to drink about 17 beers a day for any potential benefit. And no one's advising that.

Researchers at Oregon State University say that the compound xanthohumol, found in hops, inhibits a protein in the cells along the surface of the prostate gland. The protein acts like a switch that turns on a variety cancers, including prostate cancer.

Since industrial lagers contain a very small quantity of hops, maybe craft beers with their much greater hop content (sometimes on a magnitude of 10) do not have to be consumed in such huge quantities for the benefits described in the study.

In a truth-can-be-stranger-than-fiction coincidence, the following report was released at the same time:

Drinking coffee may shield the liver from the ravages of alcohol, according to a long-term study.

A study of more than 125,000 people found that the risk of developing alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver dropped with each cup of coffee they drank per day.

"Consuming coffee seems to have some protective benefits against alcoholic cirrhosis, and the more coffee a person consumes the less risk they seem to have of being hospitalized or dying of alcoholic cirrhosis," said Doctor Arthur Klatsky, an investigator with Kaiser Permanente's Division of Research and the lead author of the study.

Researchers found that people drinking one cup of coffee a day were, on average, 20 percent less likely to have alcoholic cirrhosis. For people drinking two or three cups the reduction was 40 percent, and for those drinking four or more cups of coffee a day the reduction in risk was 80 percent.

More on beer and health ... in moderation!

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