There’s a growing body of evidence that supports the health benefits of wine, but did you know that beer has health-promoting perks, too? According to new research, a compound in beer can protect brain cells from damage.

Xanthohumol (also known as Xn), an ingredient in beer hops, has been shown to protect the brains cells from damage. Beer hops are one of the fundamental ingredients in beer brewing. The hops used in brewing are the flowers of the hop plant. Hops have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Research suggests that Xn may help ward off cancer, viral infections, obesity and inflammation. It’s only now that researchers have started studying its brain-boosting benefits.

The findings were published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Jianguo Fang and his fellow researchers found that Xn not only fights damage caused by free radicals but also protects cells from neurotoxicity.

“Mounting evidence suggests that oxidative damage to neuronal cells contributes to the development of diseases that originate in the brain,” said Fang.

We have a limited supply of neuronal cells, which are the cells that are present in the brain, spine and nerves. These cells are especially susceptible to stress.

Oxidative damage to neuronal cells caused by free radicals results in the development of brain diseases like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. If researchers find a way to protect these neuronal cells from oxidative damage, we might be able to ward off or slow down neurodegenerative disorders.

To reap the benefits of Xn, all you need to do is regularly consume products containing Xn, such as beer.