Read this to justify your recovery beer
Although most cyclists agree that beer is not exactly a “health food," there’s good news for those of us who like to imbibe. Downing a few cold ones as you’re heading out the door for a ride is obviously not the best idea, but beer—in moderation—can be a perfectly acceptable option for after a ride or on non-training days. It can even serve as a decent rehydrator since most American beers are approximately 90 percent water with an ABV (alcohol by volume) of ~4.6, a small amount of protein, and approximately a third of the calories coming from carbohydrate.
You already know that when it comes to heart health, red wine is usually the star, which makes sense because of how it can positively impact your cholesterol levels. But one of the reasons red wine helps is due to its ethanol content. Beer contains this same compound, which means that beer also lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol and increases HDL (good) cholesterol. The soluble fiber found in beer in varying amounts might also contribute to a more attractive lipid profile.
Other health benefits of moderate (note the emphasis on moderate here) alcohol consumption in general are an association with lowered incidence of gallstones, decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes, and improved cognitive function in older adults. And since we’re on the subject of moderation, I should point out that “moderate” consumption is technically one 12-ounce beer per day for women and two for men, and no, you can’t abstain all week long in order to “spend” your servings on the weekend.
But wait, there’s more! Beer specifically has been associated with a lowered risk of kidney stones in men compared to other alcoholic beverages, possibly due to select compounds found in hops and beer’s high water content and general diuretic effect. Luckily I’ve never had kidney stones, but I have given birth, and anecdotal evidence says that the pain of passing a stone is similar to childbirth sans epidural. So, guys, anything that can reduce your risk of kidney stones should be strongly encouraged.
Beer also might make your bones stronger. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch, but it should be noted that moderate alcohol consumption has been associated with greater bone mineral density, and if your drink of choice is beer, your bones might be even more solid thanks to beer's high silicon content. Beer is also a source of multiple B vitamins, such as folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, and vegan-approved B12. In general, the more malt in the brew, the more concentrated the level of B vitamins.
So at the end of the day, you needn’t feel sheepish if every now and then you like to enjoy happy hour. Thanks to the health benefits, nutrients, and water content, beer can absolutely fit into a cyclist’s diet, whether you’re relaxing after a workout or loading up—on carbs, not brewskis—before a big race. But remember the rules: Alcohol isn’t for everyone, and at the end of the day moderation is key, since there are some drawbacks to consuming alcohol while in training.
Thanks to Rodale for the content.