Beetroots Enhance Athletic Performance & Endurance

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Beetroots enhance athletic performance and endurance

The nitrate in beetroot juice may be the promising ingredient that improves performance. The body converts inorganic nitrate (found in high levels in beets as well as most green leafy vegetables) into bioactive nitrite. (Blood nitrite levels more than doubled in the beetroot juice group compared to the placebo group in the study of cyclists.) The body converts the nitrite to nitric oxide, which is known to improve vasodilation and blood flow in vessels. In turn, decreased oxygen cost of exercise and thus increased athletic performance.

How to make it?

Blend up beets and use a recommend 4:1 dilution with the juice of other (preferably sweeter) vegetables and fruits. The juice from this vegetable is packed with a long list of health benefits including the increased performance, decreased blood pressure and overall improved cardiovascular health (Lundberg et al., 2011). (Don’t be alarmed if, after eating beets or drinking beetroot juice, your urine turns pink.)

This research team also looked at the effects of beetroot juice on blood pressure; mitochondrial oxidative capacity, a marker of how efficiently and effectively the body converts food to fuel; and physiological responses such as how much oxygen is required to fuel walking and moderate- to high-intensity running and how long a participant could exercise before exhaustion. They found that participants who consumed the beetroot juice had lower blood pressures and experienced a lower oxygen cost of exercise. In fact, walkers had a significant 12 percent to 14 percent decrease in the amount of oxygen needed. The authors point out that this could have significant implications for improving exercise capacity in people who suffer from certain cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. The participants also had decreased overall maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), but this was compensated for with an increased time to exhaustion (Lansley et al., 2011b).