Wanting to take a break from alcohol doesn’t mean you have to stop drinking beer. Non alcoholic beer exists for a reason and it actually has many benefits!
There’s a lot of evidence in support of the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption. From the antioxidants in a glass of wine or the mood-boosting effects of a delicious brew, there are plenty of reasons to indulge now and again.
That said, there are times when you want to avoid alcohol. But that doesn’t mean you have to stick to water or sugary soft drinks when you go out. Now, it’s becoming easier and easier to find great-tasting non-alcoholic beer to satisfy your taste buds.
But is non-alcoholic beer healthy? It might surprise you to know that there are many non-alcoholic beer benefits. Read on to find out more!
1. Promotes Post-Exercise Recovery
If you’re partial to a game of billiards, you’ll know that there’s no better accompaniment than a cold glass of beer – whether that’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic.
But, if you prefer more physical sports, it’s best to wait until after you’ve finished playing to indulge. As it turns out, the sodium in non-alcoholic beer benefits recovery following exercise. And the fluids and carbohydrates that beer contains also help your body to recuperate after strenuous exercise.
2. Rehydrates the Body
Alcoholic beer can also be beneficial after exercise. But one disadvantage is that it has a diuretic effect. This means that it increases urine output and can leave you feeling dehydrated.
Several studies have examined the rehydration capacity and diuretic effect of beer with a range of different alcohol contents from zero to four percent. In general, the lower the alcohol content, the better able it is to rehydrate the body.
Studies have found beer with 2 percent alcohol or less did not increase urine output. It also didn’t have any effect on blood-volume levels after exercise. As such, non-alcoholic beer benefits your fluid balance and supports the rehydration process.
3. Improves Cardiovascular Health
Researchers also believe that non-alcoholic beer benefits your cardiovascular health. This is likely due to the polyphenols the beer contains, such as polyphenol xanthohumol, a compound derived from hops.
In more specific terms, consuming alcohol-free beer can help to reduce blood pressure, inflammation, and homocysteine levels, as shown in one study on men aged 55-75. And, further tests using the same participants showed that beer consumption increased endothelial progenitor cells. These are stem cells which repair and maintain the endothelial walls of your blood vessels.
4. May Stimulate Breast Milk Production
It goes without saying that breastfeeding moms should avoid alcohol. But that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the best non-alcoholic beer on a group night out or while they’re relaxing at home.
Especially since one of the non-alcoholic beer benefits is that it may stimulate the secretion of prolactin, a hormone which enhances breast milk production. This is because the barley in beer contains a polysaccharide which boosts milk flow.
What’s more, drinking beer with zero alcohol content may also increase antioxidants in breast milk. And, this boost of antioxidants also helps to decrease compounds related to oxidative stress within the mother’s body.
5. Reduces the Risk of Osteoporosis
Silicon, which is a non-alcohol component of beer, may increase bone mineral density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Look for the best non-alcoholic beer with high levels of malted barley and hops to benefit from this effect.
6. Improves Copper Metabolism
A copper deficiency can lead to joint pain, anemia, and weak bones. One of the non-alcohol components of beer promotes better copper metabolism, helping to reduce the severity of a copper deficiency.
7. Promotes Better Sleep
Hops are a key ingredient in both non-alcoholic and alcoholic beer. They’re used for their preservative capacities and distinct flavor. But, the compounds xanthohumol and myrcenol in hops also have a sedative effect and are thought to improve sleep patterns.
The main mechanism behind this is the way hops increase the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). When GABA levels increase, this decreases neural activity and allows the brain to relax.
In an experimental study with work-stressed nurses, drinking alcohol-free beer in the evening during a two-week period improved their sleep quality. In particular, researchers found that the nurses fell asleep faster and were less restless during the night.
Researchers also studied the sleep patterns of university students during a stressful exam period and found that drinking beer without alcohol helped them fall asleep faster too.
8. Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Just as the hops in beer help promote better sleep, researchers have found that consuming alcohol-free beer reduces feelings of anxiety and stress.
Experimental studies have examined how drinking alcohol-free beer may affect anxiety levels among groups under stress. Participants had to rate their stress levels during a two-week period of drinking the beer every evening. The researchers then compared this to a control period when they did not drink beer in the evening.
Participants self-reported lower levels of anxiety and stress during the experimental phase. And physical tests confirmed this effect.
The participants showed a decrease in urinary levels of 5-HIAA during the period of drinking zero-alcohol beer for two weeks. This indicates reduced anxiety as those with anxiety disorders show high levels of this compound.
The Benefits of Drinking Non-Alcoholic Beer
Going alcohol-free doesn’t have to mean giving up beer. And, as these benefits show, there are plenty of reasons to choose non-alcoholic beer over sugary soft drinks if you’re trying to avoid alcohol.
While all types of beer have many positive health benefits, with alcohol-free beer, you can enjoy these as well as clear head in the morning!