Strong Beer May Be as Good for Your Gut as Probiotic Yogurt

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Good news for all of us who can barely choke down yogurt (isn’t it just slightly spoiled dairy?) but still could benefit from the boost the probiotics give the microbiome in our guts: beer could perform the same handy trick.

Probiotics are important resources for many people who want to maintain a healthy microbiome – and a healthy microbiome is important for everyone, since our bodies contain almost as many bacteria as they do individual cells.

That said, you might be able to ditch the sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi in favor of a brewski, says University of Amsterdam’s Eric Claassen.


“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,” he said at a conference.

The first part of that is important. Many studies have confirmed that heavy drinking has a detrimental effect on gut bacteria because it upsets the composition of intestinal microbiota, so please remember that moderation is key, here.


That said, some types of stronger Belgian brews are fermented twice in order to further break down sugars into alcohol, and the extended process uses a type of yeast that produces acids that devours illness-causing bacteria in the gut.

So every time you drink one of those particular beers, the microscopic defenders in your belly are reinforced.

It’s also worth pointing out that while the anecdotal and theoretical evidence for the positive effects of probiotics are strong, the hard science is out as far as which microbes, exactly, are helpful for the body. Also, many doctors and scientists are skeptical that consuming them as food does much good at all, as many would be unable to survive digestion in stomach acid and make it into the lower digestive tract, where they’re really needed.


None of these foods are going to hurt you, though, so if they might help – or you feel better when you eat and drink them – there’s no harm in trying!

In moderation, of course. Too much yogurt is as icky as too much beer, if you ask me.