The 6 beers that are good for your health (and the ones to avoid)

Health experts have revealed beers like Guinness, Stella Artois Unfiltered and London Porter Dark Ale could all have benefits when it comes to your gut. <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Health experts have revealed beers like Guinness, Stella Artois Unfiltered and London Porter Dark Ale could all have benefits when it comes to your gut. (Image: PA)

Did you know there are some beers that are good for your health?

Health experts have revealed beers like Guinness, Stella Artois Unfiltered and London Porter Dark Ale could all have benefits when it comes to your gut health.

Researchers have been accumulating evidence to suggest that certain beers could help improve the diversity of species in the gut microbiome.

A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, from 2022, followed 22 men who drank a little more than half a pint of beer every day for four weeks and found as a result they had better intestinal health, The Telegraph reported.

Health experts have now conducted a review into experiments in Frontiers in Nutrition and have come to the conclusion various ingredients in beer may have a positive impact on the immune system.

Nutrition researcher at King’s College London and founder of The Gut Health Doctor, Dr Megan Rossi, said this was due to plant chemicals known as polyphenols which are found in certain beers and are useful for the bacteria in your gut.

Dr Rossi, speaking to The Telegraph, said: “Bacteria have been shown to digest about 90 per cent of polyphenols and turn them into chemicals, which can have anti-inflammatory effects."

The 6 beers that are good for your gut health

The six beers that are good for your gut health, according to health experts, are:

1. Guinness

Guinness is thought to be rich in certain plant chemicals, according to Dr Rossi.

She said: “Some polyphenols are particularly high in Guinness.

"We talk about diversity (being good for the gut), and that’s the case for drinks as well.

"So, if you drank a little bit of Guinness one night, and then a little red wine another time, while keeping within the alcohol limit, that’s probably going to get you a wider range of these polyphenols.”

Worcester News: Guinness is among the beers experts say could be beneficial for your health.
Worcester News: Guinness is among the beers experts say could be beneficial for your health.

Guinness is among the beers experts say could be beneficial for your health. (Image: PA)

2. Newcastle Brown Ale

Medical scientist at Imperial College London, Dr Federica Amati, said: “It’s not a health drink, but some of these ales will contain more of these useful chemicals as well as yeast strains left in the beer.

“They’re probably not going to be alive, but there’s a vein of thought that they still have some sort of beneficial impact on our immune system when they reach the gut.”

3. Hoegaarden

Belgian branded beers such as Hoegaarden, Westmalle Tripel and Echt Kriekenbier are fermented twice.

This second fermentation uses a different strain from the traditional brewer’s yeast, The Telegraph reports, which not only increases the strength of the beer, but also means it contains more useful microbes.

Belgian professor Jeroen Raes added: “We know that even dead yeasts could have an effect on the composition of the microbiota, and it could also have an effect on transit times."

4. London Porter Dark Ale

Craft beers and dark ales also contain gut-boosting yeast, according to The Telegraph.

Dr Amati said if there’s a little bit of sediment at the bottom of your craft beer or dark ale, "that’s always a good sign".

5. Stella Artois Unfiltered

If you are a larger drinker, try finding an unfiltered version as it may contain more potentially useful chemicals, as well as having a more "complex flavour and aroma".

Dr Amati continues: “If you drink a fairly long fermented and traditionally made beer, so not one that’s super filtered, you will get some of those polyphenols and yeast strains left in the beer."

Worcester News: There are also beers to avoid according to health experts.
Worcester News: There are also beers to avoid according to health experts.

There are also beers to avoid according to health experts. (Image: JD Wetherspoon)

6. Doom Bar Zero Alcohol Free Amber Ale

"Drinking alcohol-free beers could offer all the benefits to your gut, without the disadvantages of the actual alcohol content," The Telegraph said.

Alcohol free beer - in particular Doom Bar's version - are said to be more likely to contain helpful plant chemicals.

Ciders can also be good for your health

According to Dr Amati, there is are also several artisan cider brands including the likes of Old Rosie Scrumpy Cider and Henry Westons Vintage Cider that can have benefits for the gut microbiome.

She explained: “They tend to have some of the actual fruit left in the drink, meaning that fermentation carries on for longer.

“The cloudier ciders are better as these are sugars known as polysaccharides which float in the cider and they’re good prebiotics to feed the gut bugs.”

Other drinks such as mead are also thought to be beneficial for the gut.

The 6 beers to avoid to help improve your health

While the likes of Guinness, Newcastle Brown Ale and Stella Artois Unfiltered are good for your health there are a number of beers that are not so good for you, and the experts have warned to avoid.

The six beers drinkers should avoid, according to the health experts, are:

  • Heineken

  • Budweiser

  • San Miguel

  • Peroni

  • Stella Artois

  • Heineken (alcohol free)

"Drink very moderately" - how much should you be drinking

While the experts say there are benefits to some beers, they also emphasise alcoholic drinks are not health drinks and in many cases, any benefits for the gut are likely to be cancelled out by the impact of alcohol on the body.

Dr Amati said: "I’m very keen to pass on the message that we have to drink very moderately.

“Have at least three days with no alcohol in your week, and no more than one drink when you do drink.”

While Dr Rossi advocates drinking no more than one or two alcoholic drinks at a time.


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She added: “When we’re talking about any anti-inflammatory benefits for the gut from these darker beers, that becomes pro-inflammatory after about two drinks,” she explains.

“That’s because the alcohol starts to make the gut a little bit leaky, allowing things to move from our gut into the bloodstream that wouldn’t normally be there, and causing low-grade inflammation.”

The NHS recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, spread across 3 days or more.

That equates to around six medium (175ml) glasses of wine, or six pints of 4% beer.