While beer is a beverage, it is also made with cereal grains, hops and yeast – all of which can make a meal, and all of which have health benefits that the average beer drinker may not be aware of. Beer was once used at monasteries as a nutritious drink to have with meager meals or while fasting. Here are some amazing facts that may give you something to smile about the next time you drink your dinner, mostly attributed to hops, or Humulus lupulus, an amazing flower in beer.

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Hops compound can improve cognitive function: Hops contain a flavonoid called xanthohumol, that has been shown to improve cognitive function in young mice during research conducted at Oregon State University. Flavonoids are compounds found in plants that give them their color – and have been discovered to have nutritional benefits on health issues such as inflammation and cardiovascular disease, in fighting cancer and now on cognitive ability.
Hops component helps with blood sugar levels: Before you go buying cases of beer, please note that it is a component of hops that is showing an impact on blood sugar levels. While it is hops that give beer its bitter taste, it is the isohumulones component to hops that can be used to supplement against diabetes. The benefits of taking one capsule a day have been documented in clinical studies.
Hops lowers triglycerides and more: Isohumulones, a component of hops, reduces triglycerides, has antibacterial properties and is a powerful antioxidant, according to studies over the last decade.
Women with rheumatoid arthritis can benefit from beer: Researchers looking at data from more than 238,000 women are saying that those who reported drinking beer two to four times a week had a 31 percent decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis because of its anti-inflammatory components.
Hops helps insomniacs: Hops can induce sleep with its component called lupulin – a fine yellow resinous part of the female hops flower. It can promote sleep and eases nervous irritation. Fresh lupulin contains compounds that include polyphenols, tannins and flavonoids as well as essential oils.
Hops can stimulate digestion: The bitters in the hops flowers can stimulate digestion and have been used for generations in folk medicine to stimulate appetite. It can be taken in a bitter tea or in extract form.
Hops tea helps with bad bladders and digestive problems: An herbal tea made from hops can relieve constipation and act as a diuretic. This can help flush toxins from the body and may ease bladder pain associated with toxic buildup there. It also contains properties that can act as an antispasmodic, which can have a positive impact on irritable bowel syndrome.

Dr. Michelle Walter, ND at Nobu Integrative Medicine in North Bend, Wash., said the female flower known as a “strobili” is used to make beer and also medicine.

“Hummulus lupulus is well known by Native Americans to help heal open wounds, stimulate gastric secretions, reduce anxiety and as a sedative. It is also a great way to stop hot flashes via its phytoestrogenic properties and it tastes great, too.

“Because hops has estrogenic, androgenic and progestogenic activities it has also been included in formulations to increase breast tissue, which leads to one major drawback for men - if you over indulge repeatedly it can lead to gynecomastia and a decreased libido. Remember, everything in moderation,” she said.

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