Conventional wisdom suggests water & sports drinks should be the first beverage you reach for once you complete a work out. Scientifically, it’s a sound suggestion as sports drinks quickly replenish the fluid and electrolytes your body loses during a workout. It also adds an infusion of carbohydrates and proteins to help with recovery.
There’s another drink that while unconventional, will help aid your recovery if done right. Beer!
Before you go reaching for that double IPA after your workout, there’s a couple things to note.
Let’s get this out of the way first though. Beer causes people to become dehydrated. However, it depends on the level of alcohol by volume (ABV) found in each beer.
As NPR reports, scientists can reduce the dehydrating effects of beer by changing its electrolyte content. This is done by lowering the ABV to 2.3% and adding salt and results in hydrating athletes better than a traditional ale.
Your standard light beer won’t have a low enough alcohol by volume to help you hydrate though.
Another benefit that beer has over sports drinks are its naturally occurring nutrients such as barley, hops and yeast. Sports Nutritionist Ben Desbrow told NPR,
“A properly formulated beer beverage is likely to do you no more harm than you are likely to get from a sports drink. In fact, it probably is likely to do you more good, because it’s got a lot of these sort of natural compounds, like polyphenols, that are actually good for your health.”
While that is good news, it’s not a wise idea to make it a habit. Elite Daily does a good job citing several studies showing the effects alcohol has on your body after a work out. While you won’t do much harm having one or two beers after exercising, you don’t want to make it a habit.
If you’re inclined to have a beer after your workout, here’s a list of beers that meet the 2.3% ABV and lower criteria.