As reported by Markham Heid in Men’s Health magazine, a new study indicates that wheat beer reduces post-marathon muscle inflammation and respiratory illness. Researchers had 277 marathoners to each drink 34 to 50 ounces of either non-alcoholic wheat beer or a placebo drink with the same amount of calories and carbs every day for 3 weeks leading up to last year’s Munich Marathon, and for two weeks following the race.
After the marathon, the researchers measured the participants’ muscle inflammation and tracked signs of respiratory illness. The beer drinkers were more than three times less likely to experience upper-respiratory infection, and their markers for inflammation were 20 to 32 percent lower than the placebo group’s.
The runners should thank polyphenols, an antioxidant chemical found in many plants and fruits. Polyphenols can help fight a virus, regulate the immune system, and they help reduce inflammation and stress. Beer has a lot of polyphenols.
Research shows that polyphenols can act as a more-effective substitute for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, a drug that can also cause stomach upset. Wheat beer contains many different types of polyphenols, might be the most effective, and regular, alcoholic wheat beer has double the polyphenols of non-alcoholic wheat beer. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole wheat, and legumes also contain polyphenols.