Learn why so many serious athletes are turning to beet juice to improve their endurance
Who would have thought that beet juice might be christened the new superfood for athletes. The frothy red drink has proven to be one of the best, all natural performance enhancing supplements on the market for athletes who want to substantially increase their endurance. The benefits of beet juice are undeniable.
The most noteworthy research on the benefits of beet juice for athletes was done at the University of Exeter in the UK:
In other studies, the following results were shown:
- Beet juice improved performance (1-3 per cent) and power output in 4km, 16km, and 10km cycling time trials. For perspective, if you run a 5 km in 20 minutes, a two per cent improvement is 19:36 – impressive!
- In walkers and runners, beet juice reduced the oxygen cost of walking and moderate and intense running, and increased time to exhaustion
- Runners who ate baked beets before running a 5km time trial ran faster (and the last 1.8 km five per cent faster), and had a lower rate of perceived exertion during the first part of the run.
- Trained divers could hold their breath almost half-a-minute longer if they drank beet juice before their dive.
- In well-trained rowers, beet juice improved times for a set of 6 x 500m repetitions, especially the later repetitions.
The Nitrate Connection
It’s been studied and documented that a diet rich in vegetables that contain nitrates improves cardiovascular health and increases blood circulation throughout the body. While most vegetables do contain nitrates, they are more abundantly found in beets, kale, leafy greens, spinach, celery, endives, fennel, arugula, leeks and parsley. However, beet juice may be the most concentrated form of nitrates in nature.
It is very important to note that similar to the way that not all oranges are high in Vitamin C, not all Beets are high in nitrates. So if you are planning on using a Beet Juice supplement, find one that GUARANTEES High Nitrate Levels like Beet Extreme.
How it Works
Once consumed, nitrates are converted to nitrites that are in turn converted to nitric oxide. Increased nitric oxide levels result in vasodilation – a relaxing and opening of blood vessels that allows for increased oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles and more efficient removal of catabolic waste products that cause fatigue like ammonia and lactic acid.
The bottom line is that the higher your nitric oxide production the better your muscles will perform and the faster they will recover. Almost nothing compares to beet juice when it comes to improving endurance!
Other Potential Health Benefits of Beets:
- Reduced cardiovascular stress
- Improved detoxification
- Improved inflammation fighting
- Improved male sexual function (Viagra is also a vasodilator)
What are My Options?
1. Eat more beets. Keep in mind however, that over-cooking will significantly reduce the available nitrates in beets. Consuming steamed or lightly cooked beets is one way to get the benefits, but by eating them, your body has to expend the energy and take the time to digest them. In addition, you will need to eat A LOT of beets to get the performance enhancing benefits. In most cases, this is the least convenient way to get your nitrates from beets.
2. Drink beet juice. This is a very effective way to enhance athletic performance because juiced beets are concentrated and the nutrients are easier to assimilate. The downside to this is that juicing beets is expensive, time consuming and messy.
3. Use a beet juice powder concentrate like Beet Extreme. This is the easiest, most convenient, cost effective way to get performance enhancing benefits from beets. All you do is mix a scoop of the powder in with 8 oz of water and drink it approximately 60-90 minutes before training or competition. Not to mention, the cost per serving is cheaper than if you bought your own organic beets and juice them yourself!
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a safe, natural way to boost your performance and give yourself a competitive edge, beets, beet juice or beet juice powders are definitely worth a shot! A potential 16% increase in time to exhaustion and the ability to do the same amount of work with substantially less oxygen could mean HUGE gains to your performance and might even get you a spot on top of the podium!