According to a new study drinking beetroot juice before a workout can improve muscular force and performance during exercise.
Beet juice, particularly rich in nitrate has already been shown to enhance high-intensity exercise and potentially improve endurance. Recently, a study published in the journal Acta Physiologica suggests nitrate can also increase muscular performance during exercise.
After tracing the distribution of the ingested nitrate in the saliva, blood, muscles, and urine, researchers found that after the nitrate was taken, there was a significant level in the thigh muscles. An hour after the nitrate was taken, participants were asked to perform 60 contractions of the quadriceps — the thigh muscle active while straightening the knee — at maximum intensity over five minutes on an exercise machine. The team found a significant increase in the nitrate levels in muscle. During the exercises, researchers found this nitrate boost caused an increase in muscle force of seven percent, compared to when the participants took a placebo.
Andy Jones, Professor of Applied Physiology at the University of Exeter, said: “Our research has already provided a large body of evidence on the performance-enhancing properties of dietary nitrate, commonly found in beetroot juice. Excitingly, this latest study provides the best evidence to date on the mechanisms behind why dietary nitrate improves human muscle performance.”
Nitrates are nitrogen-oxygen molecules that are produced by the body and can also be found in certain foods like celery and lettuce, as well as beet juice and beetroot juice. When one consumes food or drinks with nitrates, they help convert oxygen into energy more efficiently, which increases endurance and power when exercising.
How to Make Beetroot Juice
Drinking one 250-ml glass of beetroot juice per day is advisable. People can make beetroot juice at home using a juicer, blender, or food processor.
- Trim the tops off the beets before washing them thoroughly. Leave the beetroot skin intact for extra nutrients.
- Chop the beets into small pieces.
- Set up a juicer with a bowl or pitcher in a position to catch discarded material.
- Feed the beetroot pieces into the juicer one at a time.
- Pour the beetroot juice into a glass, and immediately drink it or place it in the refrigerator to chill.
How to blend the beets:
- Place the beetroot pieces into the blender, and add a splash of water to help soften up the beetroot.
- Blend until smooth.
- Remove large chunks from the juice using a cheesecloth or fine-mesh strainer.
- Discard the pulp and pour the beetroot juice into a glass. Chill it in the refrigerator or serve it straight away.
You can drink beetroot juice on your own, or you can blend it with the juice of other fruits and vegetables.
The following healthful ingredients can add a flavorful twist:
- citrus fruits
Beetroots are a healthful addition to most diets. People can experience the health benefits of beetroots by eating them raw or cooked or by drinking beet juice. Juiced beets contain many beneficial nutrients that the cooking process can remove.