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Beetroot juice beats training for athletic endurance

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Beetroot juice

A new study shows that drinking beetroot juice significantly boosted athletic endurance among cyclists by reducing oxygen consumption. The research, led by University of Exeter, revealed that drinking beetroot juice improves athletic stamina to a greater degree than training, reducing fatigue after six days of consuming 500ml.

Previous studies have shown that nitrates in beetroot juice can relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure, also found in the current when participants drank 500ml daily. The newest results showing the health benefits of beetroot juice should generate interest from endurance athletes seeking ways to reduce fatigue and improve athletic endurance.

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Cyclists were given 500ml of organic beetroot juice for six days before being tested for endurance. As a control they were tested on a separate occasion after six days of drinking black currant cordial and engaging in the same test of endurance. The study showed a 2 percent reduction in the time it would take to cover a set distance. The athletes also had lower blood pressure readings, attributable to the nitric oxide benefits of beetroot juice.

Study author Professor Andy Jones of the University of Exeter's School of Sport and Health Sciences, said, "Our study is the first to show that nitrate-rich food can increase exercise endurance. We were amazed by the effects of beetroot juice on oxygen uptake because these effects cannot be achieved by any other known means, including training. I am sure professional and amateur athletes will be interested in the results of this research. I am also keen to explore the relevance of the findings to those people who suffer from poor fitness and may be able to use dietary supplements to help them go about their daily lives."

The study, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, shows that beetroot juice probably benefits athletic stamina as the result of nitrates that convert to nitric oxide, lowering oxygen consumption. It also highlights the benefits of consuming nitrate rich vegetables such as celery, radishes, and beets for good health. The effect of beetroot juice added 92 seconds of cycling among the study participants.

University of Exeter