by Regan Simpson May 27, 2020
We all know that non alcoholic beer can be a healthier option than its alcoholic version, but did you know that it can actually be good for you? The benefits of non alcoholic beer go far beyond providing a healthier alternative to drinking.
Besides being a better option than regular beer in many situations, non alcoholic beer has health benefits in itself. It hydrates instead of dehydrates, aids in post workout recovery, promotes better sleep, and can even reduce anxiety.
It’s not likely that you needed more reasons to indulge in your favorite NA beer, but you're about to have an even higher appreciation for its benefits after this. Read on, and keep sipping!
Before we dive into the actual health benefits, let’s look at how NA stacks up against its alcoholic version. We know it’s a better alternative, but in what ways?
If you’re pregnant, taking certain medications, or are doctor-advised to limit your alcohol consumption, having non alcoholic options on hand is key. If you’re making health and fitness a priority, you may choose to swap your typical drink with something alcohol-free too.
Sometimes the thought of an early morning or an important event the next day is enough to make you weary of alcohol’s effects. If you want to avoid any degree of hangover, a non alcoholic beer is the better option. The best part is that you can usually be incognito about what you’re drinking. The sheer presence of a drink in your hand is enough to keep people from pressuring you into “just one drink.”
Have you noticed that regular beer, wine, and liquor bottles never display the nutritional information? You can find the ABV, but you’ll never know the calorie or sugar content. And for this situation, ignorance is not always bliss.
The average calorie count in a pint of beer is around 200. But keep in mind, this is average. Some heavy beers with a higher ABV can have much more. Even a normal 12 oz bottle of light beer has around 150 calories. If you drink a few of these, you’re drinking a meal’s worth of empty calories. If you drink often and in large amounts, you could be consuming thousands of excess calories a week, yikes!
Non alcoholic beer is much lower in calories- a 12 oz Grüvi beer ranges between 26-60 calories, which is less than half of what a typical beer contains. Not all non alcoholic beers are equal, and some are higher in calories. However, most calories are from the alcohol itself, so by removing alcohol you remove most of the calories from the beer.
When you sit down at a bar or restaurant, kicking back with a couple of pints may seem harmless. But if you drove there, getting back home is risky. Unless you want to cough up the cash for a ride home or have a designated driver, choosing a non alcoholic drink is always the better option if you plan on driving. More bars and restaurants are catching on to this and are starting to list more alcohol-free options on their menus.
Let’s dive into the good stuff now. Non alcoholic beer can actually improve your health, and can be a fun part of a healthy lifestyle. Is that not the best news you’ve heard all day?!
So, what exactly are the health benefits of non alcoholic beer?
With the exception of alcohol and caffeinated drinks, most liquids work to hydrate you. So while drinking a normal beer dehydrates you, choosing the non alcoholic option does the trick when you’re thirsty. It does not work as a diuretic, and you won’t experience a hangover caused by dehydration.
On top of that, some NA brewers are creating beers with added electrolytes. Instead of using a sugary sports drink to quench your thirst, a beer with electrolytes can do a better job.
Have you ever seen those pictures of elite athletes holding a giant beer at the finish line with big smiles on their faces? While I’m sure some of those beers are alcoholic, I’ve come to believe that most of them are not.
Some important research found that non alcoholic beer can work as a recovery drink for athletes. Yes, I believe that is very important research. The recovery benefits stem from the presence of phenols, which are compounds derived from plants. Phenols can reduce inflammation and strengthen the immune system, both of which are beneficial to not only athletes, but to anyone and everyone too.
When you cross that finish line, climb that mountain, or complete that hard workout, remember that alcohol can hinder your recovery process. Celebrate instead with a non alcoholic beer, and give your recovery process a kickstart.
It has been long believed that alcohol helps you fall asleep. While it may do so, it results in poor sleep quality. If you want to drink something before bed to help you sleep, choose a non alcoholic beer. According to research on a group of nurses, participants fell asleep faster and slept better when they drank a non alcoholic beer before bed, compared to drinking nothing.
In this same study, researchers noted that drinking non alcoholic beer reduced anxiety. On the flip side, the alcohol in regular beer can increase it. If you struggle with anxiety, keep this in mind next time you choose a beer.
The secret ingredient to better sleep and reduced anxiety? Hops. This study found that hops can help significantly improve mild symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress. Another study found that hops act similar to melatonin, which explains how it can enable better sleep.
If your goal is to reduce or cut out your consumption of alcohol for health reasons, you’ll see huge benefits in the lack of alcohol alone. Next time you take a sip of your favorite non alcoholic beer, being mindful of the benefits may make it taste even better than it already does.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to come locked and loaded with these facts. Next time someone asks why you’re choosing the NA version over the regular version, you’ll have a lot to say. And don’t forget to offer them one!