When Beets Help You Beat

It seems that beetroot juice might just have some additional health benefits that could benefit athletes.  Indeed, in research undertaken through Exeter University, it seems that by consuming the juice, cyclists were able to actually improve their biking time.  As well, the study indicated an escalation of stamina for those athletes sipping on the brightly colored juice.

Beets Benefits for All

And there’s more.  As well, beetroot juice has now been linked to a reduction in blood pressure, a winning battle against dementia and supplementary energy to the older generation, which is slowing down.

So  how exactly is beetroot juice accomplishing all of this?  Apparently, there is a huge amount of nitrite in beets which when working with the body’s chemicals, is able to widen blood vessels which increases the speed of oxygen flow to the muscles and brain. This then enables the muscles to use the oxygen way more efficiently.

The Research

So in this research, nine competitive male cyclists were asked to cycle 2.5 and 10 mile distances.  Before they began, they drank a little under one pint of beetroot juice.  Then they did the same two routes on a different day but drinking beetroot juice without nitrite.
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With the first beverage, there was an 11 second difference in their timing (in the 2.5 mile distance) and a 45 second difference (in the 10 mile distance).  For the layman, this may seem insignificant, but for any athletes in the know, it’s only seconds that differentiates from a gold to a silver.

According to Exeter University researcher Professor Andrew Jones, “this is the first time we’ve studied  the effects of beetroot juice, and the high nitrite levels found in it, on  simulated competition.  These findings show an improvement in performance that, at competition level,  could make a real difference – particularly in an event like the Tour de France where winning margins can be tight.”

The study was reported in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.



James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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