American nutritionists found that beer could be a good source of silicon, thought to play an important role in bone health.
Beer could provide a substantial amount of silicon in the Western diet, said researchers from the University of California, Davis, who published their study in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
Silicon can be found in whole grains such as oats, barley, and rice, and in vegetables such as cucumbers, asparagus and leafy greens, but it appears that people may get more of it in beer than they do eating whole foods, Cosmos reports.
According to UK Express, scientists discovered that silicon is still present in beer, even after the brewing process, as orthosilicic acid. Beers with higher levels of barley and hops were richer in silicon than lagers, made from corn.
Report author Professor Charles Bamforth said: "Based on these findings moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis." Osteoporosis affects one in two women and one in five men over 50 in the UK. The report is in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture.
While the researchers are not recommending gulping beer to meet your silicon intake needs, their study does add to others on the potential health benefits of this cold beverage.
The type of silicon in beer, called orthosilicic acid, has a 50 percent bioavailability, meaning that much is available for use in the body. Some foods, like bananas are rich in silicon but only 5 percent is bioavailable. This soluble form of silica found in beer could be important for the growth and development of bone and connective tissue, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Past research has suggested that moderate beer consumption may help fight osteoporosis, a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, according to LiveScience.com.