You might reward yourself with a beer after a day of hard work. Athletes on the German ski team are likely to do the same.
German Olympic ski team doctor Johannes Scherr tells the New York Times most of his athletes throw back a non-alcoholic beer after training. Many athletes, particularly ones in endurance sports, have bought into the idea that a beer after a race or workout can be rejuvenating. However, Scherr says, when he started to look at it, there wasn't much research backing the claim.
So, he conducted a double-blind study financed by a brewing company. He provided non-alcoholic beer to runners in the 2009 Munich Marathon for three weeks before the race and two weeks after. The runners who drank beer had less inflammation and fewer upper respiratory infections following competition than competitors who were drinking a placebo. (He suggests that endurance athletes may benefit more from the beer's effects more than other athletes in sports.)
He says the benefits of beer are due to a high quantity of polyphenols, which can boost the immune system. The benefits were obvious. If having a beer helped his athletes recover faster, they could train with more intensity.
Scherr has taken that study to the Olympics. The German brewery Krombacher has provided about 1,000 gallons of non-alcoholic beer for German athletes, the Times reports. Non-alcoholic beers, which are marketed as a sports drink in Germany, have become popular for German athletes partly because it has a lower sugar concentration than sports drinks like Gatorade. They're even available in many gyms.
Scherr hasn't specifically prescribed beer for the German skiers, but his recommendation and research have most of them doing it anyhow. It's not really a hard sell.
Shocking as it may be, beer is also popular with spectators. Though, there's a chance they might be more interested in the alcoholic variety, even if it's 9am.
h/t New York Times