Although too much alcohol is dehydrating a few pints of beer is more effective at rehydrating the body than the equivalent amount of water according to a study at the University of Granada in Spain. The university monitored 40 students with half drinking beer and half drinking water after exercising in a 40C (104F) environment. They found that the carbon dioxide in beer (real ale also contains CO2) not only made the drink feel more thirst-quenching but increased water absorption, while the carbohydrates in beer replaced lost calories. "It could also be that the better hydration levels are also down to the sugars and minerals found in beer” said Miguel Angel Marugan, Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Granada. "It is a good source of potassium which is needed after exercise to rehydrate”.
Beer is also rich in B vitamins - particularly riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pyroxidine (B6), folate (B9) and cobolamine (B12) – necessary for maintaining energy levels and building new muscle tissue. Although amounts vary, 3 pints of beer could provide about 30 percent of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of most B vitamins.
"Beer is in no way empty calories” says Charles Bamforth, Professor of Malting and Brewing Sciences at the University of California in San Francisco. "It contains far more nutrients than any other alcoholic beverage”.