When every kilometre counts, runners will do everything possible to gain a competitive advantage – from using the best in running gear to the very latest in sports nutrition. Now there could be a new and rather surprising weapon in the armoury for athletes hoping to extend their distance or shave vital seconds off their time – beetroot juice.
Studies suggest that drinking beetroot juice enables muscles to work more efficiently. Beetroot juice is a natural source of nitrate, which is thought to be the active ingredient in affecting athlete’s performance.
The nitrate has two physiological effects. Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood flow. Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity.
The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort.
Beet It Stamina Shot is the world’s first organic beetroot shot with no preservatives. Available now at Evergreen Healthfoods, Beet It doesn’t have the smell or the taste of beetroot. And because it’s concentrated, it’s actually very sweet.
The Sports Stamina Shot is designed as a functional drink, targeted at athletes looking to improve their performance and build on their stamina. People drink it not as a drink but for its functional properties.
A study conducted at the University of Exeter and published in May 2010 in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that drinking beetroot juice reduces the energy expended by muscles. The research builds on a previous study (also published in the Journal of Applied Physiology), which showed for the first time that drinking beetroot juice can boost stamina, allowing an individual to exercise for up to 16% longer.
The authors suspected that this was connected to the very high nitrate content of beetroot juice turning into nitric oxide in the body, leading to a reduction in oxygen uptake. The latest study confirmed that initial finding and also described the processes in the muscles that make exercise less tiring.
It was found that drinking beetroot juice doubled the amount of nitrate in the blood of the volunteers and reduced the rate of utilisation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the most immediate source of energy for muscles. This suggests that drinking beetroot juice enables muscles to complete the same work more efficiently. Furthermore, after drinking beetroot juice, oxygen uptake was reduced during both low intensity and high-intensity exercise.
The nitrate has two physiological effects. Firstly, it widens blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood to flow. Secondly, it affects muscle tissue, reducing the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during activity. The combined effects have a significant impact on performing physical tasks, whether it involves low-intensity or high-intensity effort.
The beetroot juice used in this research was provided by Beet It. You can now buy Beet It Sports Stamina Shots at any of the 5 Evergreen Healthfoods stores in Galway or online from http://www.evergreen.ie/beet-it-beetroot-shot/007017pd.aspx. Priced at just €2.35, we think it’s certainly worth a punt if you’re working on increasing your distance – whether it’s a mini marathon, half marathon, triathlon or ironman event!
Your local Evergreen stores can be found at the following locations in Galway. The Galway Shopping Centre; Westside Shopping Centre; Mainguard St. in the city centre; Barna and Moycullen.