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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Cheers! Beer 'can prevent prostate, breast cancers'

Not only men, even women now have another excuse to go down the pub, thanks to a new study which has revealed that downing a glass of beer daily could prevent prostate and breast cancers.

Researchers at the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg have discovered that beer contains a powerful molecule which actually helps protect against the breast and prostate cancers.

Found in hops, the substance called xanthohumol blocks the excessive action of testosterone and oestrogen; it also helps to prevent the release of a protein called PSA which encourages the spread of prostate cancer, they say.

Scientists have long known that substances in hops help to block oestrogen. This is the first time, however, that they have been found to also inhibit testosterone.

"The research is still early but in trials we hope to further demonstrate that xanthohumol actively prevents prostate cancer development," the 'Daily Mail' quoted Clarissa Gerhauser of the Heidelberg centre as saying.

Xanthohumol is a powerful antioxidant derived from hops. It belongs to a family of chemicals called flavonoids found in fruits and vegetables that are known to have anti- cancer properties.

So which brews are likely to be rich in xanthohumol? "Hops give beer its bitter flavour so traditional bitters and ales will contain far more of this substance than light lagers," sad Ben McFarland, author of 'World's Best Beers'.

"Beers highest in hops, are India pale ales such as those made by the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich, South-East London. First brewed in the 1800s, these ales were made with high levels of hops to act as a natural preservative for export," he added.

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