A study by the University of South Australia(UniSA) found that beets are able to naturally increase athletic performance.
A meta-analysis was conducted on 118 studies in 25 countries. It evaluated the effects of various foods that were thought to improve aerobic performance. The results showed that grapes, sour cherries, and pine bark extract all helped increase endurance exercise performance by increasing nitric oxide availability.
The high levels of nitrate in beetroot have been proven to increase blood circulation, improve oxygen delivery to the muscles, and speed up peak performance. The polyphenols found in grapes and pine bark extract prevented nitrate degradation, which increased stamina.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that help to reduce the effects of oxidative stress. These compounds can also reverse or prevent cell damage due to environmental, lifestyle and aging factors.
Noah D’Unienville was the lead researcher in the study. He said that the findings show beets, and other foods, are “natural endurance boosters.”
Beets are a low-calorie vegetable but rich in essential vitamins and mineral .
Beets have a small amount of nearly all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs to be healthy. Boiling a 3.5-ounce (100g) serving of beetroot has 44 calories, 0.2g of fat, two grams fiber, and 1.7g protein. It also contains 10 grams carbs.
The same serving can also contain:
Folate – 20% of the Daily Value (DV)
Manganese 14 percent of the total DV
Copper – Eight percent of the DV
Potassium – 7 percent of the DV
Magnesium- Six percent of the total DV
Iron – Four percent of the DV
Vitamin B6 – Four percent of the DV
Vitamin C – Four percent of the DV
Beets are an excellent source of folate, which is a vitamin that plays an important role in development, growth, and heart health. Beets are also rich in manganese which is a nutrient that plays a vital role in the formation of bone, nutrient metabolism, and brain function.
They also contain copper, which is an essential mineral for energy production as well as the synthesis and use of particular neurotransmitters.
The Uniqueness Of Beets
D’Unienville stated that although there is a of lot interest in nitrate and polyphenol-rich foods because of their potential to improve exercise performance, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be automatically more effective in achieving that task.
UniSA’s study found that beetroot could boost performance, but not other foods high in nitrates like red spinach, rhubarb, and Swiss chard. However, grapes, sour cherries, and pine bark extract were found to boost athletes’ performance. Other foods rich in polyphenols such as blackcurrants, cocoa and ginseng did not.
D’Unienville stated that although there isn’t much data on beetroot compared to spinach, Swiss chard, and rhubarb, it’s possible they didn’t show any performance benefits. This could be because these vegetables are lower in polyphenols than the beetroot.
D’Unienville said that the protective effect of antioxidants on the nitric oxygen from beetroot could make a difference. D’Unienville also stated that exercise performance was not affected by removing nitrates from beetroot in certain studies.
Jon Buckley, co-researcher on the study, stated that, despite the positive effects of foods such as grapes, beetroot and sour cherry to improve exercise performance, they did discriminate. The athletes who were not as fit were more likely to experience significant benefits. Beetroot, grapes, and sour cherry consumption was more beneficial for men than it was for women.
Buckley suggests that you train regularly and consume beetroot juice if you want to improve your athletic performance.