Reach for a Glass of Beetroot Juice to Boost Endurance
By reducing oxygen uptake better than any other known means, beetroot juice may boost endurance and allow you to exercise longer, according to a study published in the August 2009 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.
8 men between 19 and 38 years of age were recruited for the study. They were asked to consume 500 ml of organic beetroot juice every day for six days.
They also underwent a placebo phase which involved consuming blackcurrant cordial for six days.
After each phase, the participants underwent a series of tests while using an exercise bike.
The researchers found that participants were able to exercise for up to 16% longer after the beetroot juice supplementation.
After consuming the beetroot juice, the participants also had lower resting blood pressure, which supports findings from a similar beetroot juice study in 2008.
While this study was not designed to find the specific mechanisms behind these benefits, according to lead author Professor Andy Jones from the University of Exeter, it appears that beetroot juice reduces the oxygen cost of exercise.
During aerobic exercise, working muscles must consume oxygen. Oxygen uptake is a measure of how much oxygen your body is consuming at any given time. The more oxygen your body is capable of consuming, the longer you can sustain aerobic exercise.
The researchers note that since there are no other known means for controlling oxygen uptake, these findings could result in a whole new class of athletic drinks. They also plan to investigate whether people who suffer from poor fitness may be able to improve their daily lives through beetroot supplementation.
While more research will serve to look deeper into the implications of these findings it seems having a glass of beetroot juice before exercising could help you go that extra mile.