While most fitness programs recommend supplements and electrolyte-heavy drinks like Gatorade to aid with recovery after a heavy workout or physical activity, some Olympians are swearing by the effectiveness of non-alcoholic beers as a viable substitute. So if you think that drinking beer without alcohol is lame, you might want to reconsider. Non-alcoholic beer can do you a lot of good if you’re fitness buff.

Power of Phenols

The main ingredient that makes beer healthy is phenols. According to Very Well Fit, phenols are found in many plants that are high in antioxidants, with leaves of veggies and skins and seeds of fruits having the richest concentrations. Phenolic acids aid in preventing cellular damage and act as an anti-inflammatory when consumed regularly. Examples of foods that have high phenolic content are coffee, tea, citrus fruits, berries, whole wheat, red wine, corn and oats among others.

Phenols’ anti-inflammatory effect is what makes it a vital component in many after workout recovery drinks — and non-alcoholic beer has plenty of it. NPR wrote that beer contains around 50 phenols, which is why a scientist from the Appalachian State University, Dr. David Nieman, studied the effect of drinking 1.5 liters of non-alcoholic beer per day on a daily basis. His findings led him to conclude that non-alcoholic beer does have a positive effect on post-workout recovery, same as Gatorade-like drinks and supplements.

Non-Alcoholic Beers For After Workouts

Scientists also said that beer is not just about phenols. Athletes that are able to drink after a workout or a match without the ill effects of regular beer are more well adjusted socially. Beer is a diuretic, which is why some argue that it might prevent sportsmen and women from fully recovering. However, according to Den Desbrow of Griffith University in Australia, just supplementing with non-alcoholic beer and water is enough — without depriving the athlete of the ability to socialize with fellows.

Some Olympians are swearing by the effectiveness of non-alcoholic beers as a viable substitute. Pictured: A bartender pours a Blue Moon beer during the Food Network's rooftop birthday party Getty Images/Noam Galai