The theory is that the nitrate contained in beet root juice leads to a reduction in oxygen uptake, making exercise less tiring.
And while the researchers are not yet sure of the exact mechanism that causes the nitrate in the beet root juice to boost stamina, they suspect it could be a result of the nitrate turning into nitric oxide in the body, reducing the oxygen cost of exercise.
In fact, drinking beet root juice reduces oxygen uptake and improves endurance better than any other known means, including training.
Including training! Obviously, this is big news for endurance athletes.
The researchers gave the test subjects 500ml per day of organic beet root juice for six consecutive days before completing a series of tests, involving cycling on an exercise bike.
On another occasion, they were given a placebo of blackcurrant cordial for six consecutive days before completing the same cycling tests.
After drinking beet root juice the group was able to cycle for an average of 11.25 minutes, which is 92 seconds longer than when they were given the placebo.
Beet root supplementation resulted in a 19% reduction in the amplitude of the pulmonary O2 response during moderate cardio exercise
As an extra added bonus, the group that had consumed the beet root juice also had lower resting blood pressure. (systolic pressure dropped 6 mmHg)
This blood pressure benefit was also found in a 2008 study.
In that study, researchers discovered that within 1 hour of drinking 500ml of beet root juice, volunteers experienced a drop in blood pressure, with the peak drop 3 to 4 hours after ingestion.
Some degree of reduction continued to be observed until up to 24 hours after ingestion.
Researchers showed that the decrease in blood pressure was due to the chemical formation of nitrite from the dietary nitrate in the juice. The nitrate in the juice is converted in saliva, by bacteria on the tongue, into nitrite. This nitrite-containing saliva is swallowed, and in the acidic environment of the stomach is either converted into nitric oxide or re-enters the circulation as nitrite.
The peak time of reduction in blood pressure correlated with the appearance and peak levels of nitrite in the circulation, an effect that was absent in a second group of volunteers who refrained from swallowing their saliva during, and for 3 hours following, beet root ingestion.
This research suggests that drinking beet root juice, or consuming other nitrate-rich vegetables, might be a simple, effective and inexpensive way to reduce blood pressure and maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
If you are interested in:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Reducing your risk of heart disease
- Increasing your aerobic endurance
- and making you cardio sessions feel much, much easier
Drink your beet juice.
And if you can’t get your hands on some fresh beet root juice, there are a number of GreenFood/SuperFood/Antioxidant drinks that have beet root powder as an ingredient.
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