Beets, Beet Juice, and Exercise Performance

Looking to beet your current opponent or simply your latest personal exercise record? Beets, or beetroots, are a unique vegetable with a strong taste and intense red color. They are rich in dietary nitrate, folate, and vitamin C. They are notable for their ability to enhance exercise performance. The compound nitrate (NO3) gets converted to nitric oxide when consumed. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and thereby reduces blood pressure. Nitrate also plays a role in allowing your muscles to become more efficient at using oxygen while exercising. By doing so, your muscles tire more slowly, allowing you to exercise at a higher level for a longer period of time. Oxygen is primarily used during long-lasting, aerobic exercise (aka endurance exercise). This includes various types of exercise such as cycling, running, and swimming.

Some ways to add beets to your diet include shredding it onto your salad or adding pickled beets as a side item. You could also slice them and add lemon juice and chili powder. Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh beets, which are easily stored in the refrigerator. Many people may not like the taste or texture of beets but still want its potential benefits. Beetroot juice is a viable alternative commonly found online and in-store. A research-based brand known as “Beet It” provides dietary nitrate through beet juice in an optimal concentration (400 mg) to receive exercise benefits. While you may need greater quantities if consuming beets in another form (i.e. cooked, sliced, chips) to achieve enhanced exercise performance, you can still experience many other favorable effects from its other antioxidants and polyphenols. Beetroot powders are popular and have high antioxidant capacities; however, their nitrate potential is low. Below are quantities for consuming adequate amounts of nitrate from various sources to improve exercise.

Beet It 70 mL bottle
Cooked beets 2.5 cups
Raw beets 2 cups

 

Get your beets on!

-WW

Fresh Roasted Beets Recipe

Wash and peel fresh beets. Cut into chunks and place on cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 375°F until tender with fork. Sprinkle with crumbled goat cheese immediately before serving. Enjoy!

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