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Beetroot Juice Associated With Improved Athletic Performance

Numerous studies have linked beetroot juice with improved athletic performance for intermittent type exercise in recreational athletes. Now, a recent study suggests that consuming beetroot juice may also improve high-intensity exercise performance.


Participants in the study included 32 male soccer players with an average age of 23 who played for amateur Dutch soccer leagues. Over the course of six days, the men were given either a nitrate-rich beetroot juice containing 800 mg nitrate per day or a nitrate-depleted beetroot juice. The supplement period was followed by a high-intensity exercise trial, after which all of the participants underwent an eight-day washout period before switching interventions.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the nitrate-rich beetroot juice was associated with an 11-fold increase in blood levels of nitrate as well as a 3-fold increase in plasma nitrite concentration. They also noted a 3.4% increase in performance in the nitrate-rich group, when compared with the nitrate-depleted group. The nitrate-rich juice group also had a decrease in heart rate, when compared with the placebo.


Researchers from Maastricht University Medical Centre conducted the study. It was published on March 22, 2017, in Nutrients.


Previous studies have linked nitrate with improved regulation of blood flow, better blood pressure, cellular signaling, glucose homeostasis, and improved tissue responses to low oxygen levels as well as improved cardiovascular health.


In addition to nitrate, beetroot juice is packed with nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, amino acids and calcium. It has been associated in previous studies with lowering blood pressure, improving digestive health, boosting stamina and combating liver problems. While beetroots are perhaps the most popular nitrate rich food, if their taste does not appeal to you, they can also find nitrates in spinach, broccoli, cabbage, kale, cucumber, garlic, pumpkin, radishes, and string beans.

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