Beet your best: To exercise longer, try beetroot juice

Beet your best: To exercise longer, try beetroot juice

Beetroot juice does not sound like the most appetizing super-food being touted around these days, but it might be just what you need for that extra boost whilst exercising. Research in Medicine And Science in Sports And Exercise states that a 500 ml dose pre-exercise enhanced cyclists’ performance by 2.8 per cent in both short and longer-distance time trials; increasing the body’s ability to convert oxygen to energy. Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and nitrates, which appear to make a metabolic process called oxidative phosphorylation more efficient. In essence, fewer oxygen molecules are lost from this process meaning that more is available to make energy. This greater efficiency means you can exercise at a higher intensity. However, it is equally effective for low and high intensity exercise, making it just as beneficial for a power walker as for sprinters.

 

Want to try it? Mix 250 ml of beetroot juice with a 250 ml combination of carrot, pineapple, and orange juices, and have a glass a day for a week.

Don’t fancy 500 ml of liquid before training? You can get concentrated beetroot juice shots for a similar effect.

 

Want to avoid the juice all together? According to research in Cell Metabolism, nitrate levels provided by regularly eating root vegetables may provide the same benefits as drinking beetroot juice.

 

References

 

[1] Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Bailey SJ, Vanhatalo A, Wilkerson DP, Blackwell JR., Gilchrist M, Benjamin N, Jones AM (2011). Acute dietary nitrate supplementation improves cycling time trial performance. Med and Sci in Sports and Exercise; 43(6):1125-1131.

[2] Larsen FJ, Schiffer TA, Borniquel S, Sahlin K, Ekblom B, Lundberg JO, Weitzberg E (2011). Dietary inorganic nitrate improves mitochondrial efficiency in humans. Cell Metabolism; 13(2):149-159.

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