Over the course of the past decade, an increasingly popular superfood has emerged on the scene: beetroot.
Beets themselves have always been super healthy, since they are loaded with betaine, folate, magnesium, nitrates, potassium, and Vitamin C. In fact, beets are so healthy that study after study has found that they improve circulation and cognitive function, as well as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. But where they truly shine is when it comes to athletic performance.
This hasn’t always been believed to be the case, however.
Beets And Their Effect On Athletic Performance
Beets have historically had a bad reputation for being high in sugar, even though they don’t contain any more sugar than other root vegetables. People also overlooked the fact that they are high in fiber, which counteracts some of the blood sugar effects of the carbs themselves.
It wasn’t until 2007, when Swedish researchers discovered that after 3 days of taking a sodium nitrate supplement, a group of cyclists and triathletes had a lower oxygen demand and an increased blood plasma level of nitrate, which is a byproduct of nitrate. This then led to additional research, which found that by consistently consuming nitrate on a daily basis – either through beet juice or a blackcurrant drink – people were able to exercise for longer periods of time.
And from there, a growing interest in beets and athletic performance was born. After all, it’s no secret that athletes, regardless of whether they are novices or professional, are competitive by nature, and are always looking for a way to best their competition.
How Beetroot Can Help Improve Your Athletic Performance
Here are a few reasons why:
- Beetroot Improves Heart Health: Beetroot increases nitric oxide in the body, which causes blood vessels to expand and subsequently, improves blood flow. Improved blood flow reduces strain on the heart.
- Beetroot Improves Oxygen Efficiency: An increase in blood flow results in faster removal of lactic acid, the root cause of muscle fatigue, as well as quicker nutrient and oxygen delivery to the muscles. By improving muscle oxygenation during exercise, you’ll increase anaerobic muscle performance for both strength and power.
- Beetroot Boosts Endurance: Nitrates – like those found in beets, arugula, and spinach – improve the efficiency of mitochondria, which produce energy at the cellular level. This results in an increase of how long it takes to become exhausted, as well as cardiorespiratory endurance (how well your heart, lungs, and muscles work together over a certain period of time).
- Beetroot Supports Faster Recovery: Muscle soreness and joint pain after workouts are signs of inflammation, which can slow recovery time, limit fitness gains, and cause injuries. Because beets increase nitric oxide, which in turn removes lactic acid from the body, your muscles are replenished with nutrients and oxygen quicker. This will lead to a faster post-workout recovery.
Beets also contain calcium, iron, lutein, manganese, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, and zeaxanthin. These nutrients are important for bone health and function as electrolytes, which also aids in post-workout recovery.
Interesting Facts About Beetroot
An analysis of numerous studies has found that:
- Both male and female athletes are able to maintain exercise for 60-80% longer when taking beetroot
- For best results, beetroot should be taken roughly 2.5 hours prior to an event
- Beetroot improves cardiorespiratory fitness when athletes are at higher altitudes
- If beetroot is taken for at least 15 consecutive days, even healthy adults can see an increase in power and oxygen during exercise
- Beetroot has detoxifying properties that helps pull toxins from the body and flush them out
- Oral antiseptics have a negative effect on the nitrates in beetroot
How To Incorporate Beetroot Into Your Performance Training
An athlete who weighs 150 pounds needs to consume roughly 4 cups of beets per day to meet the daily nitrate requirement to make a difference in performance. That’s a whole lot of beets, regardless of whether you are eating them raw or cooked. Insult to injury is that this needs to take place 2 to 3 hours prior to exercise.
Thankfully, there are other ways to hit the daily recommended limits, including drinking beetroot juice or taking supplements that include a power-packed punch of beetroot powder.
The benefit of the latter is that these types of supplements usually incorporate a variety of other ingredients for optimal health and performance. Take our Active Energy supplement, for example. It contains organic beetroot, in addition to:
- Energy boosters like B12 from Methylcobalamin and caffeine from whole coffee fruit extract
- Adaptogens from an organic mushroom blend to combat mental and physical stress
- Organic maca and rhodiola to assist with endurance
If you want to incorporate beetroot into your training and up-the-ante on the results you see, Active Energy is a no-nonsense supplement that can help get you there. Order yours today!