Beetroot Juice in glass with mint leaf

Beet juice boosts workouts

Some 2000 years ago the Romans recognised the value of beet and started to cultivate it. While it is a sweet vegetable it is also a source of antioxidants, the substance betaine which is good for the liver, and nitrate which opens up blood vessels. It is the nitrate that has gained beet a lot of attention as a food that may help with exercise and according to a new study beet juice can probably help you work out for longer.

The study involved healthy volunteers who, for 15 days, drank either normal fresh beetroot juice (not the sort from a can) or a beetroot juice that had the nitrate removed. The subjects all undertook exercise that involved stationary cycling and the researchers took measurements of oxygen utilisation, heart function, and blood vessel function as the participants exercised.

The results showed that normal beetroot juice, but not beetroot juice with the nitrate removed, had lower blood pressure and blood vessels that were more dilated both at rest and during exercise. Less oxygen was also consumed during exercise and blood vessels were more responsive and dilated more easily when needed.

The researchers concluded that the capacity of the nitrate in beetroot juice to dilate (open) blood vessels in skeletal muscle during exercise will reduce the workload on the heart, and improve oxygen utilisation therefore improving endurance and so you will be able to workout for longer.

Given all of the other healing qualities in beetroot there really is no reason not to add beetroot to your exercise support regime and if you aren’t already exercising, maybe it will be the thing that could get you out there.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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