A new study is showing that some beers may be good for you because they contain significant amounts of probiotic microbes that kill harmful bacteria. These probiotic microbes have been credited with numerous health benefits ranging from combating obesity to getting a better night’s sleep. Strong Belgian beers like Hoegaarden and Westalle Tripel have been found to have high levels of these probiotic microbes.
The difference between these Belgian beers and most commercial beers is that the Belgian beers are fermented twice instead of just once. The second fermentation uses a different strain of yeast than what found in traditional beers. This one is the same as that found in yogurt and kimchi. This yeast does not simply convert the sugar within the grain into alcohol. It also makes acids which can be toxic to microorganisms that may make us unwell.
The second fermentation has been found to increase the strength of the beer and give it a sharper, drier taste. An analysis from the College of Nebraska in the U.S. discovered that some bottles of beer include as much as 50 million of these ‘good’ microorganisms. Professor Eric Claassen of Amsterdam University commented, “In high concentrations alcohol is bad for the gut, but if you drink just one of these beers every day, it would be very good for you.”
Not all scientists agree with this recommendation. Researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of probiotics and found that the probiotics’ gut colonization prevented the host from returning to their normal pre-antibiotic configurations. This abnormality lasted for months in some subjects. Their research has been published in the journal Cell.