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Fit beer: The next big workout recovery drink

Lisa Armstrong is the mother of two grown daughters, a yoga practitioner, an educator and a long-time freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness, and historical topics that affect humanity's personal and collective well-being.

There's a new (sport) drink in town

Several new beers are not only healthier, but may actually help you get your game on and recover after.
Woman drinking beer after workout
Photo credit: Valentin Casarsa/E+/Getty Images

Though most standard wisdom bans beer as causing your body to become dehydrated or worse, research published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism has shown that drinking low- or non-alcohol beer could actually be a good way of rehydrating after exercise.

Scientists in Australia have also recently discovered that by lowering the alcohol and upping the levels of other ingredients, beer can not only help replenish your fluids, but also replace lost nutrients like a standard sports drink.

Although the common understanding prohibiting alcohol-filled beer before, during, or after sports is still solid, opinions on the health benefits of beer after exercise are starting to change thanks to a number of new brew formulations.

One of the newer formulations was created by a team of Canadian food scientists. Touted as a "recovery ale," Vampt's Lean Machine lager provides polyphenols, zinc, and vitamin C, among other ingredients. Weighing in at 77 calories and 0.5% alcohol, and made to be nutrient-rich and antioxidant and electrolyte heavy to boost muscle recovery after exercise, it is set to hit shelves in Canada soon.

Vampt founder Ian Towes wants the beverage to promote responsible drinking for younger beer lovers with active lifestyles. "We just thought that maybe we could do something that would support a drinker — and help them — after an aggressive workout," he says.

Often connected with dehydration, alcoholic drinks aren’t usually the first thirst-quenchers in mind. But since most beers are actually a blend of malted barley, hops and yeast, you can get much needed vitamin B and protein after a long workout.

Sports nutritionist Ben Desbrow says that in addition to lowering the alcohol level, adding sodium can help hydrate you as well as a sports drink. "A properly formulated beer beverage is likely to do you more good, because it’s got a lot of these sort of natural compounds… that are actually good for your health."

Other healthy brews to consider

  • Peak Organic, a beer with a wheat base and brewed with high-antioxidant acai and pomegranate is another better-for-you beer. Studies have suggested that wheat beers decrease muscle inflammation, especially for marathon runners and endurance athletes, experts say.
  • Colorado's Left-Hand Good JuJu contains ginger, long known for its health benefits.
  • Abita Purple Haze ramps up fresh raspberries in this low-alcohol lager.

More on fitness

Top 5 foods and drinks to avoid before workouts
Summer fitness tips to beat the heat
Spring tonic: Balancing the body with pungent greens

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