8 – Beetroot juice and exercise
Nitrate in beetroot juice
Beetroot juice has become a big story in sports science recently after it was found that it can enable individuals to exercise for as much as 16% longer. These findings have resulted in numerous athletes, from professional cyclists to Premiership footballers, exploring its potential uses. Research shows how the nitrate in beetroot juice leads to reduced oxygen uptake, which makes exercise less tiring.
One study of beetroot juice’s health benefits suggests the elderly or individuals having lung or heart conditions can benefit from its performance enhancing properties. The study looked at the effects of beetroot consumption on low intensity exercise and discovered that individuals used less oxygen when walking; effort it took to walk was reduced by 12%.
The consumption of beetroot juice widens blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and enabling more blood flow. It also has an effect on muscle tissue; the amount of oxygen required by muscles during activity is reduced. This combination of effects has a significant impact on physical performance, whether it be high-intensity or low-intensity activity.
How much beetroot juice?
One of the studies used about 2 cups of beetroot juice, which is enough to cause some digestive distress. Other research has suggested that about 1 cup of beetroot is effective for increasing exercise performance.