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Can Beer Be Made Healthier?

Researchers may be on to something that’ll make your favorite brew better for you.

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The problem with knocking back one too many brews on a night out (aside from the girth it can add to your gut) is the headache that inevitably follows the morning after. Though we’ve all come to expect (and, possibly, accept) this less-than-enjoyable consequence, researchers at the Griffith Health Institute suggest they’ve found a potential solution to our hangover woes. How? By manipulating the electrolyte content of beer.

Especially when taken to excess, alcohol consumption does have its negative effects. But, says Ben Desbrow, associate professor at the Institute, spreading information about the harmful effects of too much booze rarely convinces drinkers to stop altogether. So, the thinking went, why not work to make at least one type of alcohol healthier?

Enter electrolyte-laden beer.

Here’s how it works: Staying adequately hydrated while drinking is essential to preventing head pains the next morning; therefore, a lager that’s more hydrating because it’s loaded with electrolytes would reduce some of the drawbacks of drinking right at the source.

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To test the idea, the researchers altered the electrolyte levels in four beers varying in alcohol content, and gave them to men exhausted by exercising. Of the four beers tested, light beer rehydrated them best.

So, the jury is still out on the electrolyte-infusion project’s effectiveness; and it’s unknown when bottles will hit your local pub. But Desbrow believes that, if and when it’s finally available, the modified beer could help reduce alcohol’s negative effects.

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