Despite what its name implies, Oktoberfest actually begins on September 17th in Munich, Germany and ends on the first Sunday in October.
This celebration of beer was cancelled last year, making fans of the amber brew even more motivated to raise their mugs this year.
But you don’t have to make the trek to Germany to experience Oktoberfest. Many American cities have their own versions.
Plus, you can even create your own mini-Oktoberfest featuring your favorite types of beer at home! (Bonus points for inviting friends to join in on the celebration, as I report on page 6.)
In fact, I highly encourage making beer a part of your overall, healthy, balanced diet. (It’s not something only to enjoy—and celebrate—during Oktoberfest!)
After all, there’s plenty of science showing that moderate consumption can be very beneficial for your health.
Of course, a brew or two can help you relax and reduce stress. And research shows that beer ingredients like alcohol and hops can help promote heart health, ward off dementia and diabetes, and strengthen your bones.
Beer can even help keep your eyes healthy, giving new meaning to the term “beer goggles!”
Plus, a new study shows that beer can help keep your all-important gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome healthy…
The GI microbiome refers to the huge assembly of probiotic bacteria and other microorganisms (such as yeast) that normally reside in your gut. Research increasingly demonstrates the importance of GI probiotics for the body and brain. (Not to mention, the majority of your immune cells reside in your GI system.)
But there are a variety of factors that can harm this microbiome—including autoimmune diseases and other health conditions, stress, and medications like antibiotics. As well as diet.
Which leads me to the new beer study…
Researchers in Portugal recruited 19 healthy men who were moderate consumers of beer. The men were divided into two groups. One group drank one bottle of lager-style beer with dinner for four weeks. The other group drank the same amount of nonalcoholic beer.1
Both before and after the study, researchers analyzed the probiotic content in participants’ stools. After four weeks, both groups had increased probiotic diversity (which is linked to better GI microbiome function). Plus, both groups had an increase in the activity of a key enzyme that indicates better intestinal function.
This study dovetails with previous research showing it’s not the alcohol in beer that confers probiotic benefits. Instead, the polyphenols and other ingredients in the hops (which give beer its great aroma and taste) may be what helps keep the GI microbiome healthy.
You can also naturally support your GI microbiome and increase your probiotic diversity with a diet rich in a plant-based foods and naturally fermented foods (like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi).
Plus, foods like apples (see page 4), asparagus, bananas, flaxseeds, garlic, leeks, and onions are considered prebiotic, meaning they support the probiotics of the GI microbiome.
So, I suggest you combine these healthy foods with a mug or two of beer this fall. You’ll not only help improve your health, but you’ll also have a whole new meaning for the term “beer gut!”
“Impact of Beer and Nonalcoholic Beer Consumption on the Gut Microbiota: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Trial.” Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2022.