Beetroot is gaining much popularity as a performance enhancer for athletes and those wanting to gain a competitive advantage in running and cycling.
As a juice, soup or powder it will make a difference in competitive advantage. Large systemic reviews with 80 trials, showed that beetroot provided performance benefits for athletes!!! In a 16.1 km cycling time trial the gains linked to beetroot consumption were equivalent to 48 seconds.
Another review of endurance athletes (run, swim or cycle)found similar results with the Supplementation of beetroot (and other vegetables rich in nitrate) improved their time to exhaustion by an average of 25.3 seconds and the distance travelled by 163 metres. Impressive results particularly in recreational athletes!
So whats so great about beetroot??
So beetroots are rich in nitrates and anthocyanins ( both providing benefits but its the nitrates that are giving the competitive advantage. Once ingested the nitrate is converted by bacteria into nitrite in the mouth, from there the acidic conditions of the stomach covert it to nitric oxide which is absorbed int the blood. The nitric oxide dilates blood vessels which delivers oxygen more quickly to the muscles, so energy can be burned to fuel the exercising muscles.
The result is that less energy is used for performance, which means it takes longer to tire. A big win!!!
Are there any downsides?
Your urine will turn red, and this will make it difficult to determine if you are dehydrated or not. Sometimes your poo may also turn red…
Some people may have a stomach upset when consuming beetroot and it is recommended to practice introducing beetroot in training rather than finding it out competition day….
So 1 teaspoon of beetroot powder is equal to one entire beet. people may experience an upset stomach when consuming beetroot juice. So try drinking it while training to determine if you have any problems. You don’t want to find this out on competition day.
- Introduce beetroot to you daily salad at dinner…
- Introduce a beetroot soup or juice
Ergogenic Effect of Nitrate Supplementation: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis JONATHON W. SENEFELD, CHAD C. WIGGINS, [...], and MICHAEL J. JOYNER