Beer and sports: Next to peanut butter and jelly, is there any better combo? But it might be time to think beyond cracking a cold one during the big game—turns out, that beer could give your sports drink a run for its money (yes, really).
Research from the School of Medical Physiology at University of Granada shows that enjoying a beer after a hard workout might not necessarily be a bad thing. It’s a long-standing tradition amongst endurance athletes to cap off a long, sweaty run with an ice cold beer, but conventional wisdom says that alcohol dehydrates the body, making beer–or any alcoholic beverage—less than ideal as a recovery drink. But a recent study proves that beer is not only just as hydrating as water, but it might actually be more beneficial to athletes than chugging H2O after that long run.
Beer had no "deleterious effects" on athletes’ hydration levels compared to water, and researchers actually think that beer could assist recover due to its carb count. A brewski can replace calories and carbohydrates that you lose in a workout, plus it’s a plant based food (usually the ingredient list in beer is limited to hops, water, and yeast) and made with natural ingredients.
Compared to your typical sports drink, which is loaded with sugar, additives, and artificial colors, beer might actually be a better choice for your body.
So you don’t need to feel guilty about imbibing after you’ve worked out, but there are caveats. If you’re gluten intolerant, beer and alcohol will do you more harm than good and can cause inflammation, which isn’t optimal for those trying to recover from a hard workout. Too much alcohol also inhibits muscle recovery capabilities. Humans already have a tendency to indulge in spirits more on the days we exercise, so limit yourself to one or two drinks with lower alcohol content for the best results.
Beer alone won’t be a sufficient way to recover from your workout because it doesn’t contain protein or the minerals that help you recoup electrolytes, but now you know you can definitely wash down a healthy post-sweat session meal with a pint… guilt-free!
Photo credit: Waldo Pepper via Flickr