A recent study has found that non-alcoholic wheat beer has a positive effect on the health of athletes.
With the aim of identifying the positive effects of polyphenols (naturally occurring plant compounds), and using the Munich marathon as a laboratory’, a team led by Dr Johannes Scherr studied 277 marathon participants three weeks prior and two weeks following the event.
A non-alcoholic wheat beer was selected as the test substance due to its high and varied polyphenol content and its popularity with marathon runners. One group of study participants drank up to 1.5 litres of the wheat beer daily, while a second control group drank a placebo which looked and tasted like the wheat beer, but without the polyphenol content.
Marathon runners and participants in other strenuous sporting activities are said to have an open window’ of heightened inflammatory reactions following events, during which they are more susceptible to upper respiratory infections due to the immune system being worked so hard. The study found that participants who drank the polyphenol-rich wheat beer experienced reduced inflammation parameters in the blood, and experienced both fewer, and milder, infections.
Dr Scherr said, “We were able to prove that it strengthens an immune system that has been weakened by physical stress. It also prevents the system from over-performing… Drinking the non-alcoholic test beverage reduces your risk of developing a cold by one third.”
He concluded, “The potential for foods containing polyphenols to have a positive effect on athletes’ health has already been suggested in several articles. Nevertheless we were ourselves sometimes surprised at how clearly evident this was in the results. We now have scientific confirmation of those assumptions for this test beverage, with its particular combination of polyphenols, vitamins and minerals.”
Source: Medicine & Exercise in Sports & Exercise