Here is the low down on what many athletes (recreational to elite) refer to as their “secret weapon” for race day.
Beetroot contains high doses of naturally occurring nitrates which, once consumed, are converted to Nitric Oxide. There is solid science to show Nitric Oxide improves blood flow and reduces the amount of oxygen working muscles require.
The scientific research has shown that this combination could improve power output and endurance, which can be of benefit during exercise by helping you increase intensity or duration (who wouldn’t put their hand up for that!).
Steer clear of using mouthwash, gum or toothpaste at the time of consumption as it may interfere with the process. Cooking beetroot may also reduce the amount of Nitrates available. It is also worth noting that the bright red colour of the beets may also show up in your urine or bowel movements in the days following consumption!
For more reading: Effects of Dietary Nitrate Supplementation in 5km Running Time Trial Performance, British Journal of Sports Medicine (2013, Vol. 47, Issue 17) Nitrate supplementation’s improvement of 10-km time-trial performance in trained cyclists, International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism (Feb 2012, Vol. 22, Issue 1) Beet Juice as a Physical Performance Enhancer, Natural Medicine Journal (Feb 2014, Vol. 6, Issue 2)
Author: Marewa Sutherland
Marewa is the co-founder is a qualified Sports & Exercise Nutritionist (Otago University), former New Zealand representative rower and elite road cyclist. Her passion in sports nutrition is reflected in PURE Sports nutrition which she co-founded. Made in New Zeland every ingredient used is carefully selected for quality and sports science performance.