So why is beet juice a great natural sports drink to have before your next endurance workout or event? According to key researcher Andy Jones it’s the super high level of nitrate that is then converted into nitric oxide by your body. Nitric oxide helps to improve blood flow to your muscles, which then helps your body produce energy. There are other vegetables that also have high levels of nitrate such as celery and spinach but whether or not they have a similar effect has yet to be studied.
Drinking beet juice prior to a 50 mile cycling time-trial was shown to increase performance of the riders. Average times were improved by 1.2 minutes, which although was determined to not be statistically significant, is a large time margin for elite athletes. One of the interesting things about this research however is that it seems beet juice may have a larger effect for regular athletes as opposed to the elite. Blood flow & mitochondrial function, which are improved by consuming beet juice, are already well developed in the most elite athletes. Therefore rest of us may actually get even more out of beet juice than the athletes in the study.
In a separate study eating beets prior to running 5km increased running velocity in participants. In fact Jones reckons that almost every top nation at the 2012 Olympic games were using beet juice.
It seems like football players are also seeing the benefits of beet juice. The Auburn Tigers attribute part of their remarkable performance over the last two seasons to using beet juice. But its not just Auburn there seem to be more and more football teams using beet juice to improve their performance especially after a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology showed that beet juice may have a benefit in team sports like football & soccer. They simulated the intense short bursts of activity that the player undertake in these sports and found evidence of a performance boost for athletes.
In fact beet juice is becoming so popular that companies are coming up with commercial beet juice sports drinks & concentrated shots such as Beet It. There are even flavoured beet juice shots available for those who don’t like the taste.
Beets are also high in vitamins A, B & C, full of anti-oxidants, folic acid, beta-cyanine, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, iron and fiber. A warning when consuming anything with beets in it, urine and stool coloring may occur which is totally harmless but may cause concern if your not expecting it.
I like to add beet juice into a shake or in a homemade energy chew. Check out my Beet Super Chew Recipe Below!
- ½ cup beet juice
- 40g Brown Rice Syrup
- 40g Coconut Sugar
- 15g Gelatin
Heat the ingredients in a small saucepan on the stove until boiling. Boil for 1-2 minutes and then take off the heat and pour into your mold. I use a silicon-baking tray and then cut into cubes but you can also use an ice tray or another mold.
Let me know in the comments if you have tried beet juice or whether you have your own recipe that you use beet juice in.
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