Research at Oregon State University shows beer contains a micronutrient that inhibits cancer-causing enzymes.
The compound, xanthohumol, was first isolated by Oregon State 10 years ago and an increasing number of laboratories across the world have begun studying the compound, said Fred Stevens, an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry at Oregon State's College of Pharmacy.
The substance comes from the hops plant used to give beer its aroma and flavor, ABC News reported.
Most beers made today are low on hops, however, and so do not contain much xanthohumol. However, beers such as porter, stout and ales have much higher levels of the compound.
Mice studies show that the compound is metabolized quickly by the body, so it is hard to get a large amount in the body at one time, Stevens said.
"It clearly has some interesting chemo-preventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption," he said.