Beer beats runner’s throat

Marathon running is hard on your body. You only have to look at the runners as they approach the end of their races to know that this is so. Now the good news has come from a surprising source, marathon runners can protect themselves by drinking non-alcoholic beer.

It has long been known that strenuous exercise can substantially increase the risk of an upper respiratory tract infection (URTI). This is because excessive exercise can weaken the immune system and promote inflammation. Marathon runners are particularly prone to runner’s throat which is why they were chosen to test a drink that was thought to have potential as a way to protect against these infections. The drink proved to be a success and that new remedy is non-alcoholic beer.

PAUSE…for unrestrained cheering and personalised versions of Irish dancing at not being given another reason to drink tea.

RESUME…Before we go on here we need to establish the exact nature of non-alcoholic beer.

Beer is the world’s third most popular beverage, doffing its cap to only water and tea. Every year around the world we consume 113 billion litres of the amber fluid. To put that more graphically, and without using the “Olympic swimming pool” which seems to be the standard measure for any large amount of liquid, that is a cube of beer with sides 510 metres in length consumed annually. Imagine diving into that and swimming a few laps! One imagines that any bubbles entering the equation would be inhaled rather than exhaled.

Yet we digress, the point is, ….people like beer. In fact, we always have done and beer making goes back at least 11 000 years with some of the earliest known writings (from the Code of Hammurabi) referring to regulations regarding the manufacture of beer. Generally, beer contains alcohol but in this study they used non-alcoholic beer to avoid the negative effects of alcohol itself as far as possible. We say “as far as possible” because even non-alcoholic beer contains a little bit of alcohol.

Beer is made by brewing and fermenting the starch portion from grains. Usually that grain is malted barley but it can be wheat, corn, or rice. Hops are added to give the beer bitterness and to act as a preservative. In the case of non-alcoholic beer, after the beer grows through its full fermentation process it is heated to evaporate off the alcohol. Whereas most beers contain between four and six per cent alcohol by volume, non-alcohol beers are allowed to contain up to 0.5 per cent alcohol. In the case of the study in question the “non-alcohol” beer contained 0.4 per cent alcohol.

For the study the researchers used 277 healthy male runners taking part in the Munich marathon. Their average age was 49 and for three weeks before and two weeks after the marathon half of them were asked to drink one to one and a half litres of non-alcohol beer a day, while the rest drank a placebo. Blood samples were collected four weeks before the race, one week before the race, immediately after the race, 24 hours after the race, and 72 hours after the race.

The results showed that there was a significant reduction in interleukin-6 (an indicator of inflammation) in the blood of the men who drank the beer. There was an overall 20 per cent reduction in inflammatory markers in the beer drinkers and the incidence of throat infection was 3.25 times less among the beer drinkers as well in the post-marathon period.

The researchers believe that it is the naturally occurring polyphenols in grain and hops that give beer its protective powers.

There you have it, a polyphenolic reason why you can drink your non-alcoholic beer with a clear, if slightly frothy, conscience. It seems a Grinch-like thing to even mention, but you could of course get your polyphenols in even greater numbers in other ways, by drinking green tea or eating purple and red coloured fruits or vegetables for instance. Let’s just pass over that fact for the moment though and bask for a moment in the fact that non-alcoholic beer can be good for you.

Source: American College of Sports MedicineMeanwhile if you visit Meijer Ad that contains mostly likewise discounts with Winn Dixie Ad you surely have a range like ALDI Ad.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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