5 Reasons Why Non-Alcoholic Drinks are Fantastic for Athletes
If you're an athlete, then you know the importance of understanding what goes into your body. As more data comes out linking alcohol consumption to poor sleep and recovery, athletes and health-conscious individuals alike have been in search of healthier alternatives.
But here's the real question - what if you'd still like to savor the malty taste of a beer after a victory with your team? Or simply want to relax on the weekends? Believe it or not, non-alcoholic drinks are emerging as a phenomenal way to enjoy those moments as an athlete. In this article, we will discuss 5 reasons why non-alcoholic drinks are fantastic for athletic recovery.
The Downsides of Alcohol
It's no secret that alcohol can be detrimental to your health. But as an athlete, its effects are especially devastating to your game-time performance. Here are just a few downsides linked to consuming alcohol:
- Poor sleep quality
- Poor muscle recovery
- Liver disease
- Electrolyte imbalance
As a result, more athletes are opting for non-alcoholic beverages as a post-game alternative. Not only do they eliminate the effects of alcohol, but they pack in some added benefits.
The Benefits of Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Athletes
Non-alcoholic drinks can assist in hydration, boost your energy, and help in recovery after a strenuous workout. Let's dive into the 5 main benefits athletes experience when substituting alcohol for non-alcoholic drinks.
1) Better Recovery and Muscle Healing
It is well established that alcohol disrupts protein synthesis and induces insulin resistance. Furthermore, alcohol is a diuretic that dehydrates your body very quickly. Instead of disturbing muscle recovery and dehydrating your faculties, NA drinks can replace lost electrolytes, provide low-energy hydration, and allow your muscles to heal unimpeded. Overall, better recovery and hydration.
2) Improved Sleep Quality (no more hangovers!)
Did you know that less than 2 servings of alcohol can decrease your sleep quality by 9.2%? Alcohol disrupts your natural sleep patterns by suppressing REM sleep, which is critical for memory consolidation, emotional processing, and healthy brain development. Moreover, alcohol can interrupt your body's circadian rhythm by contributing to sleep apnea. Substituting alcohol for a non-alcoholic option can go a long way for your sleep.
Not only does your sleep quality improve, but no more nasty hangovers! Hangovers are caused by electrolyte depletion. By swapping a NA drink for alcohol, you can maintain a healthy electrolyte balance in the morning; allowing you to wake up and jump into your morning routine without hesitation.
3) Minimises Injury
The link between alcohol consumption and injury is abundantly clear. According to the National Library of Medicine, alcohol contributes to 5%-40% of injuries that result in an emergency room visit. The pharmacological and physiological effects of alcohol aren't something to play with! As an athlete, your body is everything. Instead of jeopardizing the ability to compete, introduce non-alcoholic beverages over alcohol to drastically minimise injury risk.
4) Improved Immune System
In a 2011 study, marathon runners were instructed to drink 1.5 liters of non-alcoholic beer per day. As a result, their risk of upper respiratory infection decreased, and their white blood cell activity (an indicator of inflammation) reduced by 20%. It is believed that phenols, plant-derived compounds found in beer (and NA beer), tend to lower inflammation and improve the body's immune system.
5) Immaculate Taste
In the past, NA beers may have been lackluster in taste when compared to their alcoholic counterparts. Today, with innovative companies like Athletic Brewing blazing the trail, non-alcoholic beverages have never tasted more flavourful and delicious! Now, you can enjoy a refreshing, malty beer without the troubles of a hangover.
In addition to quenching your thirst with non-alcoholic beer, there are smokey, non-alcoholic whiskeys and bourbons available for athletes to kick back and enjoy after a long season.
Recommended Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Athletes
If you'd like to check out more, CraftZero hand-picked a collection of non-alcoholic sports beer to aid in recovery after a workout. These beers specifically include a boost in calcium, potassium, magnesium, fiber, and electrolytes to facilitate better recovery. Even if you’re a retired athlete, these options are fantastic for anyone striving for healthier living!
Steve Gagliardi is the founder of BodyBlizzard.com - an online resource reviewing the latest health products and trends. After 8+ years of experimenting with health technology, Steve is passionate about sharing the best products & tips that help us live longer, healthier lives.