Don’t Fear Near-Beer

The Washington Post recently shared a study from 2012 that followed 212 men who signed up to run the Munich Marathon. Half of them drank two to three pints of no-alcohol beer daily for three weeks before and two weeks after the race. Among the NA beer drinkers, colds and respiratory ailments were “3.25 fold lower,” showing improved immune responses and lower markers of inflammation. The reason? The polyphenols in beer.

While polyphenols are in all beers, the drawback is that the alcohol, according to different research, likely undermines any benefits from polyphenols. Because alcohol contains empty calories and works as a diuretic, researchers suggest NA beer is the better post-exercise drink.

Many major brewers offer NA options that reviewers claim to be indistinguishable from the alcohol-fueled offerings. Without doubt, taste bud mileage will vary. While the choice at your local watering hole is whatever they offer, my favorites include anything from Athletic Brewing with their grapefruit notes and light body. I prefer lighter-bodied NA beers such as Clausthaler, Bitburger, Becks NA, and St. Pauli NA. With a bit of trial and error, you can find something you’ll enjoy that’s also good for your post-run, ride, hike, and general socializing. (Bradley Bleck)

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