Hops (Humulus lupus) are a type of dried flower with a bitter, somewhat grassy taste.
Although hops are most commonly known as an ingredient in beer and malts, they’ve been a part of traditional medicine since before the 1500s because of their health properties (1).
Here are 5 impressive health benefits of hops.
1. May Help You Lose Weight
Recently, scientists have found that hops may help with weight loss.
A study in 30 adults found that taking a bitter hops-based supplement twice daily for three weeks significantly curbed hunger feelings compared to a placebo supplement (2).
Scientists from the study believe the hops supplement helped people feel fuller for longer by encouraging the body to make hormones that curb your appetite, such as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1), CCK (cholecystokinin), and PYY (peptide YY) (2).
Summary Recent research has found that hops may help curb your appetite and reduce body fat around the belly.
2. May Help Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is a natural process that affects most women in their late 40s or early 50s.
During this time, most women experience hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood changes, dry and thinner skin, hair loss, and a drop in libido (6).
Several studies have found that hops may reduce many menopause symptoms. Scientists believe this effect is due to nutrients found in hops called phytoestrogens. These nutrients mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. (7, 8, 9, 10).
Summary Hops contain phytoestrogens, which may help ease menopause symptoms.
3. May Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease
Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (11).
Several factors can raise your risk of heart disease, such as narrow and stiff arteries. When the heart’s blood vessels are stiff, it can affect blood flow to the heart (12).
Some studies have found that hops may help reduce the risk of heart disease. A study in 23 adults found that hops helped relax the blood vessels, improving blood flow to the heart. In rats, hops had a similar effect but also reduced plaque in the arteries (13, 14, 15).
Summary Hops may help relax your blood vessels, improving blood flow to the heart.
4. May Help with Anxiety and Depression
Interestingly, some studies have found that hops may help with anxiety and depression.
In adults, a four-week study in 36 people found that taking a hops supplement daily helped significantly reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, compared to a placebo (18).
Summary In some studies, hops helped reduce signs of anxiety and depression.
5. May Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is the body’s way of healing itself and fighting infections.
Unfortunately, inflammation can get out of hand sometimes and last longer than necessary. This is called chronic inflammation, and it may raise the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancers (19, 20).
Summary Hops contain polyphenols, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.