How Does Beetroot Boost Endurance?
Let's talk about beetroot.
Beetroot is a vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, and it's often used to bring a bit of colour to a green salad or as a way to disguise veggies to the kids in a chocolate brownie. In recent years, beetroot has gained popularity as an endurance-boosting supplement among cyclists.
So how does beetroot work to boost endurance?
Beetroot is full of a chemical compound called nitrates, which are broken down by your saliva to form nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps with the dilation of small blood vessels, which improves oxygen flow around the body to fuel the muscles. Also, it can reduce the risks of high blood pressure which is good for general well-being even if you’re not a professional cyclist.
Dietary nitrates appear to have a role in increasing muscle efficiency and reducing the ‘energy cost of exercise’. This allows us to exercise at a higher intensity with the same level of energy.
Health experts say the best way to consume beetroots is in the form of a juice. Not only is it rider-friendly, as you don’t have to carry a beetroot around in your back pocket but having beetroot juice (either as a concentrated shot or blitz up at home within a smoothie) three hours before a ride, you’ll really experience the benefits of the beetroot when you’re out on your bike, as the ‘salvia–nitrate breaking down’ process is time-consuming.
But how effective is beet juice when cycling?
A study found that cyclists who drank high doses of concentrated beetroot juice used about 3 percent less oxygen during exercise tests than those drinking a placebo drink. To put it in simpler words, the riders used less energy to pedal at the same pace. Meaning you will get to your cake stop feeling less tired.
To get some quick, short-term effects, you’ll need to consume half a litre of beetroot juice a day, (more than most of us would normally choose to consume), therefore professional athletes take concentrated shots for quick performance benefits. However, if your goal isn’t for an Olympic medal, just having beetroot in your salad still has many health benefits including reducing blood pressure, building your blood and strengthening your gut health.
When it comes to consuming beetroot, there are no limitations. Like most vegetables, beetroot is low in calories and packed with lots of healthy vitamins and minerals. However, beetroot can be a little tough on the taste buds and the stomach at first but after a few weeks, your body will acclimate to the taste of it. And oh, it will turn your pee pink. Before you begin to worry, it is not dangerous, it just adds a bit of vibrance to your urine.
I think it’s safe to say, POWER TO THE BEET!